Activation of tongue-expressed GPR40 and GPR120 by non caloric agonists is not sufficient to drive preference in mice

N. Godinot, K. Yasumatsu, M. E. Barcos, N. Pineau, M. Ledda, F. Viton, Y. Ninomiya, J. le Coutre, S. Damak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


There is mounting evidence that, in addition to texture and olfaction, taste plays a role in the detection of long chain fatty acids. Triglycerides, the main components of oils and dietary fat, are hydrolyzed in the mouth by a lingual lipase secreted from the von Ebner gland and the released free fatty acids are detected by the taste system. GPR40 and GPR120, two fatty acid responsive G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), are expressed in taste bud cells, and knockout mice lacking either of those receptors have blunted taste nerve responses to and reduced preference for fatty acids. Here we investigated whether activation of those GPCRs is sufficient to elicit fat taste and preference. Five non-fatty acid agonists of GPR40 and two non-fatty acid agonists of GPR120 activated the glossopharyngeal nerve of wild-type mice but not of knockout mice lacking the cognate receptor. In human subjects, two-alternative forced choice (2-AFC) tests, triangle tests and sensory profiling showed that non fatty acid agonists of GPR40 dissolved in water are detected in sip and spit tests and elicit a taste similar to that of linoleic acid, whereas 2-AFC tests showed that two agonists of GPR120 in water are not perceived fattier than water alone. Wild-type mice did not show any preference for five agonists of GPR40, two agonists of GPR120 and mixtures of both agonists over water in two-bottle preference tests. Together these data indicate that GPR40 mediated taste perception is not sufficient to generate preference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-30
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Oct 10 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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