Maltodextrin and fat preference deficits in "taste-blind" P2X2/P2X3 knockout mice

Chem Senses. 2014 Jul;39(6):507-14. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bju019. Epub 2014 May 14.


Adenosine triphosphate is a critical neurotransmitter in the gustatory response to the 5 primary tastes in mice. Genetic deletion of the purinergic P2X2/P2X3 receptor greatly reduces the neural and behavioral response to prototypical primary taste stimuli. In this study, we examined the behavioral response of P2X double knockout mice to maltodextrin and fat stimuli, which appear to activate additional taste channels. P2X double knockout and wild-type mice were given 24-h choice tests (vs. water) with ascending concentrations of Polycose and Intralipid. In Experiment 1, naive double knockout mice, unlike wild-type mice, were indifferent to dilute (0.5-4%) Polycose solutions but preferred concentrated (8-32%) Polycose to water. In a retest, the Polycose-experienced double knockout mice, like wild-type mice, preferred all Polycose concentrations. In Experiment 2, naive double knockout mice, unlike wild-type mice, were indifferent to dilute (0.313-2.5%) Intralipid emulsions but preferred concentrated (5-20%) Intralipid to water. In a retest, the fat-experienced double knockout mice, like wild-type mice, strongly preferred 0.313-5% Intralipid to water. These results indicate that the inherent preferences of mice for maltodextrin and fat are dependent upon adenosine triphosphate taste cell signaling. With experience, however, P2X double knockout mice develop strong preferences for the nontaste flavor qualities of maltodextrin and fat conditioned by the postoral actions of these nutrients.

Keywords: Intralipid; Polycose; experience; postoral conditioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Food Preferences*
  • Glucans / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X2 / genetics*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X3 / genetics*
  • Taste*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Glucans
  • Polysaccharides
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X2
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X3
  • maltodextrin