Residual chemoresponsiveness to acids in the superior laryngeal nerve in "taste-blind" (P2X2/P2X3 double-KO) mice

Chem Senses. 2012 Jul;37(6):523-32. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjs004. Epub 2012 Feb 23.


Mice lacking both the P2X2 and the P2X3 purinergic receptors (P2X-dblKO) exhibit loss of responses to all taste qualities in the taste nerves innervating the tongue. Similarly, these mice exhibit a near total loss of taste-related behaviors in brief access tests except for a near-normal avoidance of acidic stimuli. This persistent avoidance of acids despite the loss of gustatory neural responses to sour was postulated to be due to continued responsiveness of the superior laryngeal (SL) nerve. However, chemoresponses of the larynx are attributable both to taste buds and to free nerve endings. In order to test whether the SL nerve of P2X-dblKO mice remains responsive to acids but not to other tastants, we recorded responses from the SL nerve in wild-type (WT) and P2X-dblKO mice. WT mice showed substantial SL responses to monosodium glutamate, sucrose, urea, and denatonium-all of which were essentially absent in P2X-dblKO animals. In contrast, the SL nerve of P2X-dblKO mice exhibited near-normal responses to citric acid (50 mM) although responsiveness of both the chorda tympani and the glossopharyngeal nerves to this stimulus were absent or greatly reduced. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the residual avoidance of acidic solutions by P2X-dblKO mice may be attributable to the direct chemosensitivity of nerve fibers innervating the laryngeal epithelium and not to taste.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Laryngeal Nerves / drug effects*
  • Laryngeal Nerves / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X2 / deficiency*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X2 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X3 / deficiency*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X3 / metabolism
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Taste Threshold
  • Taste* / physiology


  • Acids
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X2
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X3