Breathing Sweet And Sour- Taste Receptors in Lungs

in environment, medicine, biology

A recent study shows that there are taste buds in lungs. Does it mean one can breath sweet and sour? Unfortunately these taste receptors are not connected to brain! I was just thinking, if I could have taste receptors in my eyes, so that I can just stare at the cake and not eat it. A recent study from the University of Maryland scientists found taste receptors in the smooth muscle cells of the lungs. Only these scientists know what it means. “The detection of functioning taste receptors on smooth muscle of the bronchus in the lungs was so unexpected that we were at first quite skeptical ourselves,” says the study’s senior author, Stephen B. Liggett, M.D., professor of medicine and physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of its Cardiopulmonary Genomics Program. The airways are the pathways that move air in and out of the lungs, one of several critical steps in the process of delivering oxygen to cells throughout the body. In asthma, the smooth muscle airways contract or tighten, impeding the flow of air, causing wheezing and shortness of breath. The taste receptors in the lungs are the same as those on the tongue. The tongue’s receptors are clustered in taste buds, which send signals to the brain. The researchers say that in the lung, the taste receptors are not clustered in buds and do not send signals to the brain, yet they respond to substances that have a bitter taste. For the current study, Dr. Liggett’s team exposed bitter-tasting compounds to human and mouse airways, individual airway smooth muscle cells, and to mice with asthma. The findings are published online in Nature Medicine. More details are available at the University of Maryland website.

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