Elucidating the taste sensing systems in chickens will enhance our understanding of poultry nutrition and improve the feeding strategies used in poultry farming. It is known that chickens lack the sweet taste receptor subunit, taste receptor type 1 member 2 (T1R2), in their genome. Thus, the present study investigated T1R2-independent sweet-sensing pathways in chickens. RT-PCR analysis revealed that glucose transporters known to play an important role in T1R2-independent sweet sensing in mammals—namely sodium-glucose cotransporter 1 (SGLT1) and ATP-gated K+ channel subunits—are expressed in the palate, the main taste organ in chickens. In behavioral tests, chickens slightly preferred glucose, galactose, sucrose, maltose, lactose, and stevioside, while high doses of sucrose and fructose were rejected. Chickens did not show any preference for noncaloric sweeteners or sugar alcohol, such as acesulfame K, aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, or sorbitol. The preference for galactose was inhibited by an inhibitor of SGLT1 in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, we found that glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and mRNA of the GLP-1 receptor, which are involved specifically in sweet transmission in mice, are also present in the oral tissues of chickens. The present results imply that chickens can sense various sweet compounds via T1R2-independent pathways in oral tissues.
!!!All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes