Understanding the mechanisms underlying gustatory detection of dietary sodium is important for the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Here, we show that Angiotensin II (AngII), a major mediator of body fluid and sodium homeostasis, modulates salty and sweet taste sensitivities, and that this modulation critically influences ingestive behaviors in mice. Gustatory nerve recording demonstrated that AngII suppressed amiloride-sensitive taste responses to NaCl. Surprisingly, AngII also enhanced nerve responses to sweeteners, but had no effect on responses to KCl, sour, bitter, or umami tastants. These effects of AngII on nerve responses were blocked by the angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1) antagonist CV11974. In behavioral tests, CV11974 treatment reduced the stimulated high licking rate to NaCl and sweeteners in water-restricted mice with elevated plasma AngII levels. In taste cells AT1 proteins were coexpressed with αENaC (epithelial sodium channel α-subunit, an amiloride-sensitive salt taste receptor) or T1r3 (a sweet taste receptor component). These results suggest that the taste organ is a peripheral target of AngII. The specific reduction of amiloride-sensitive salt taste sensitivity by AngII may contribute to increased sodium intake. Furthermore, AngII may contribute to increased energy intake by enhancing sweet responses. The linkage between salty and sweet preferences via AngII signaling may optimize sodium and calorie intakes.
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