Functional magnetic resonance tomography correlates of taste perception in the human primary taste cortex

Neuroscience. 2004;127(2):347-53. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2004.05.024.


The present study investigated the functional magnetic resonance tomography correlates of taste perception in the human primary taste cortex. There is conflicting evidence in the literature about chemotopical organization in this brain region. The topography of hemodynamic activity elicited by five taste stimuli (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami) was analyzed on the flattened cortical surfaces of six single subjects. A high inter-individual topographical variability had to be noted. The results showed different patterns of hemodynamic activity for the investigated tastes with some considerable overlap. However, the taste specific patterns were stable over time in each subject. Such an individual taste specific pattern was also found for the umami taste within the primary taste cortex of each subject. These results suggest that input from glutamate receptors on the tongue might be processed in an exclusive way in the primary taste cortex rather than as a combination of inputs from the classical taste receptors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Genetic Variation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Receptors, Glutamate / drug effects
  • Receptors, Glutamate / metabolism
  • Sodium Glutamate / pharmacology
  • Taste / drug effects
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Buds / drug effects
  • Taste Buds / physiology*
  • Tongue / drug effects
  • Tongue / innervation
  • Tongue / physiology*
  • Visceral Afferents / drug effects
  • Visceral Afferents / physiology*


  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Sodium Glutamate