Gustation is one of the important chemical senses that guides the organism to identify nutrition while avoiding toxic chemicals. An increasing number of metabolic hormones and/or hormone receptors have been identified in the taste buds of the tongue and are involved in modulating taste perception. The gustatory system constitutes an additional endocrine regulatory locus that affects food intake, and in turn whole-body energy homeostasis. Here we provide an overview of the main metabolic hormones known to be present in the taste buds of the tongue; discuss their potential functional roles in taste perception and energy homeostasis and how their functional integrity is altered in the metabolic imbalance status (obesity and diabetes) and aging process. Better understanding of the functional roles of metabolic hormones in flavor perception as well as the link between taste perception and peripheral metabolism may be vital for developing strategies to promote healthier eating and prevent obesity or lifestyle-related disorders.
© 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.