Taste Bud Leptin: Sweet Dampened at Initiation Site

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The intriguing observation that leptin decreases sweet-evoked peripheral gustatory responses has aroused much interest (Kawai K, Sugimoto K, Nakashima K, Miura H, Ninomiya Y. 2000. Leptin as a modulator of sweet taste sensitivities in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 97(20):11044–11049.) due to its implied importance in controlling appetite. The effects of this anorexic hormone, however, appear more conditional than originally believed. In this issue of Chemical Senses, a careful study by Glendinning and colleagues, find no effects of leptin on sweet-evoked chorda tympani responses, whereas an equally careful study by Meredith and colleagues, find decreased release of ATP and increased release of 5-HT from taste buds in response to sweet stimuli.

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