Orosensory perception of sweet stimulus is blunted in diet-induced obese (DIO) rodents. Although this alteration might contribute to unhealthy food choices, its origin remains to be understood. Cumulative evidence indicates that prebiotic manipulations of the gut microbiota are associated with changes in food intake by modulating hedonic and motivational drive for food reward. In the present study, we explore whether a prebiotic supplementation can also restore the taste sensation in DIO mice. The preference and licking behavior in response to various sucrose concentrations were determined using respectively two-bottle choice tests and gustometer analysis in lean and obese mice supplemented or not with 10% inulin-type fructans prebiotic (P) in a preventive manner. In DIO mice, P addition reduced the fat mass gain and energy intake, limited the gut dysbiosis and partially improved the sweet taste perception (rise both of sucrose preference and number of licks/10 s vs. non-supplemented DIO mice). No clear effect on orosensory perception of sucrose was found in the supplemented control mice. Therefore, a preventive P supplementation can partially correct the loss of sweet taste sensitivity found in DIO mice, with the efficiency of treatment being dependent from the nutritional status of mice (high fat diet vs. regular chow).
Keywords: Obesity; eating behavior; microbiota; prebiotics; taste.