An analysis of 5′-inosine and 5′-guanosine monophosphate taste in rats

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Inosine monophosphate (IMP) and guanosine monophosphate (GMP) elicit an umami taste in humans and synergistically increase the intensity of the umami taste of monosodium glutamate (MSG). Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) studies in rodents indicate that these nucleotides and MSG elicit quite similar tastes, but recent physiological evidence suggests that these nucleotides and MSG may not activate the same population of taste receptors and therefore may not elicit identical taste qualities. This study reports the findings of several behavioral experiments with rats that compared the taste properties of IMP and GMP with each other and with those of MSG. Well-trained rats were able to detect both nucleotides at nanomolar concentrations, but they did not respond to either nucleotide in two-bottle preference tests or brief-access CTA tests at concentrations less than 0.5 mM. Discrimination experiments found that the tastes of these nucleotides could not be discriminated from each other, but both could be discriminated from MSG, even when the taste of Na+ was controlled. Overall, these experiments indicate the taste properties of the two 5′-ribonucleotides are quite similar to each other, and even though they may elicit an umami sensation, these sensations are not identical to the taste of MSG. © 2007 Oxford University Press.

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