Taste performance in Sjogren's syndrome

Physiol Behav. 1995 Jan;57(1):89-96. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(94)00211-m.


Sjogren's Syndrome (SS) patients have impaired salivary gland function and an elevated frequency of oral complaints. The taste complaints are thought to be due to sensory deficits that arise in the absence of sufficient saliva to maintain taste receptors. We assessed the subjective complaints, salivary production and taste functioning of SS patients and unaffected individuals. We found the expected decreased salivary gland function and increased frequency of taste complaints. Our taste assessment with weak stimuli confirmed and expanded the previous report of decreased taste threshold sensitivity in SS. However, perception of stronger taste stimuli was not impaired. In contrast with previous reports, patient judgments of intensity were not significantly reduced for any of the four taste qualities. Although the salivary gland function of all patients was markedly impaired relative to that of controls, patients lacking measurable salivary flow were no more likely than patients with residual function to exhibit subjective complaints or taste impairments. Our observations are inconsistent with a simple causal chain running from salivary gland dysfunction to sensory loss to taste complaints.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Quinine
  • Saliva / physiology
  • Salivary Glands / physiology
  • Salivary Glands / physiopathology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Sucrose
  • Taste Disorders / diagnosis
  • Taste Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Taste Threshold*


  • Sucrose
  • Quinine