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Altering salivary protein profile can increase acceptance of a novel bitter diet

Martin, Laura E., Nikonova, Larissa V., Kay, Kristen E., Torregrossa, Ann-Marie
Appetite 2019 v.136 pp. 8-17
bitterness, dietary exposure, foods, healthy diet, humans, isoproterenols, learning, portion size, protein composition, proteome, quinine, rats, sucrose, tannins, taste, toxins, vegetables
Bitter taste is often associated with toxins, but accepting some bitter foods, such as green vegetables, can be an important part of maintaining a healthy diet. In rats and humans, repeated exposure to a bitter stimulus increases acceptance. Repeated exposure allows an individual the opportunity to learn about the food's orosensory and postingestive effects. It also alters the salivary protein (SP) profile, which in turn alters taste signaling. We have hypothesized that altering the salivary proteome plays a role in the increased acceptance after repeated exposure. Here we test this and attempt to disentangle the contribution of learning during dietary exposure from the contribution of SPs in increased acceptance of bitter diet. Dietary exposure to quinine or tannic acid and injection of isoproterenol (IPR) result in similar salivary protein profiles. Here we used either the bitter stimulus tannic acid or IPR injection to upregulate a subset of SPs before exposing animals to a novel diet containing quinine (0.375%). Control animals received either a control diet before being exposed to quinine, or a diet containing sucrose octaacetate, a compound that the animals avoid but does not alter SP profiles. The treatments that alter SP expression increased rate of feeding on the quinine diet compared to the control treatments. Additionally, tannic acid exposure altered intake and meal size of the quinine diet. These data suggest that SPs, not just learning about bitter food, increase acceptance of the bitter diet.