Capsaicin modifies responses of rat chorda tympani nerve fibers to NaCl

Kazumi Osada, Michio Komai, Bruce P. Bryant, Hitoshi Suzuki, Atsuko Goto, Kenji Tsunoda, Shuichi Kimura, Yuji Furukawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Single-fiber preparations of the rat chorda tympani (CT) nerve were used to study the mechanism of action of capsaicin on salt-taste transduction. Capsaicin selectively suppressed the responses to NaCl of the CT nerve fibers (N-fibers) that are sodium-specific (insensitive or poorly sensitive to potassium). Among the more broadly responsive, cation-sensitive fibers (E-fibers) there are two subtypes, both of which responded to capsaicin but in different ways ('enhanced' type and 'suppressed' type). In both N- and E-fibers, 5% ethanol (the vehicle for capsaicin) slightly reduced the response to 100 mM NaCl. The suppressive effect of capsaicin on the response of the N-type fibers to 100 mM NaCl was significantly stronger than the effect of 5% ethanol. The suppression lasted for at least 20 s after the simultaneous application of 100 p.p.m. capsaicin-100 mM NaCl. These results indicate that 100 p.p.m. capsaicin can modify the response of CT fibers to NaCl. The observed effect of capsaicin on gustatory fibers could be the net result of opposite suppressive and enhancing processes in the taste buds cells and excited intra- or extragemmal trigeminal nerve endings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-255
Number of pages7
JournalChemical Senses
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Jun
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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