Taste responses in the greater superficial petrosal nerve: substantial sodium salt and amiloride sensitivities demonstrated in two rat strains

Behav Neurosci. 1998 Aug;112(4):991-1000. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.112.4.991.


A great quantity of research has focused on neural responses of the chorda tympani nerve (CT) to taste stimuli. This report examined salt and sugar sensitivity of the greater superficial petrosal nerve (GSP) and the effect of amiloride on these neural responses. In addition to Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats that have CT responses typical of most rat strains, we included Fischer 344 (F344) rats whose CT responses to sodium chloride (NaCl) are higher than those of other strains. After a stimulation series in which water served as the rinse, a series of stimuli was presented in 100 microM amiloride. The GSP was highly responsive to NaCl, sodium acetate (NaAc), ammonium chloride, and sucrose; NaCl and NaAc responses were strongly suppressed by amiloride. Relative responses to NaCl were significantly higher in F344 than in SD rats. In summary, the GSP is highly sensitive to salt and sugar stimulation, and palatal taste receptors have a considerable degree of amiloride sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Amiloride / pharmacology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Carbohydrates / pharmacology
  • Facial Nerve / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neural Analyzers / physiology
  • Neural Conduction / drug effects*
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Palate / innervation*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344 / physiology
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley / physiology
  • Salts / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Taste / drug effects
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Threshold / drug effects
  • Taste Threshold / physiology


  • Carbohydrates
  • Salts
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Amiloride