Lipid-Lowering Pharmaceutical Clofibrate Inhibits Human Sweet Taste

Chem Senses. 2017 Jan;42(1):79-83. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjw104. Epub 2016 Oct 14.


T1R2-T1R3 is a heteromeric receptor that binds sugars, high potency sweeteners, and sweet taste blockers. In rodents, T1R2-T1R3 is largely responsible for transducing sweet taste perception. T1R2-T1R3 is also expressed in non-taste tissues, and a growing body of evidence suggests that it helps regulate glucose and lipid metabolism. It was previously shown that clofibric acid, a blood lipid-lowering drug, binds T1R2-T1R3 and inhibits its activity in vitro The purpose of this study was to determine whether clofibric acid inhibits sweetness perception in humans and is, therefore, a T1R2-T1R3 antagonist in vivo Fourteen participants rated the sweetness intensity of 4 sweeteners (sucrose, sucralose, Na cyclamate, acesulfame K) across a broad range of concentrations. Each sweetener was prepared in solution neat and in mixture with either clofibric acid or lactisole. Clofibric acid inhibited sweetness of every sweetener. Consistent with competitive binding, inhibition by clofibric acid was diminished with increasing sweetener concentration. This study provides in vivo evidence that the lipid-lowering drug clofibric acid inhibits sweetness perception and is, therefore, a T1R carbohydrate receptor inhibitor. Our results are consistent with previous in vitro findings. Given that T1R2-T1R3 may in part regulate glucose and lipid metabolism, future studies should investigate the metabolic effects of T1R inhibition.

Keywords: cholesterol; fibrates; human; lipid lowering; sugars; sweet; sweeteners; sweetness inhibition; taste.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Clofibrate / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology*
  • Taste / drug effects*
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Clofibrate