Can we taste water after all?
Amazingly, some of the team’s mice went so far as to lick the light spout up to 2,000 times every 10 minutes in an effort to quench their thirst.
“The rodents never learned that the light was just an illusion, but kept drinking long after mice drinking actual water would,” Emily Underwood reports for Science.
“That suggests that although signals from TRCs in the tongue can trigger drinking, they don’t play a role in telling the brain when to stop.”
But we tend to associate sourness with a very specific – and sometimes unpleasant – flavour, so why would it be linked to our perception of plain water?
“These results raise the question: What information about taste are sour cells really relaying to the brain?” says Zocchi.
“Maybe sour cells are not directly linked to the unpleasant sourness that we perceive, but instead they may induce a different type of taste, like water, when stimulated.”
Without confirming the discovery in humans, we can’t say for sure that the same effect is in play in our own tongues, but the research does suggest that we’ve been far too simplistic when it comes to our understanding of mammalian tastes.
As nice as it is to have five different taste receptor cell groups for five specific tastes, research now suggests that it’s far more complex than that – there could be a number of additional senses in these groups, hiding in plain sight.
The study has been published by Nature Neuroscience.
Source : sciencealert