Bitter Taste Receptors Found in Lungs May Help Treat Asthma


AsthmaThe tongue is not the only organ which could taste bitter taste, lungs turned out to also have receptors to sense it. The hidden ability which was discovered accidentally proved useful for people with asthma.

The bitter taste receptors like the one in the mouth was also found in smooth muscle tissue in the lungs and along the airways. Receptor provides certain reactions when they inhale toxic compounds which generally tastes bitter.

In people with asthma, the reaction will cause chest tightness and coughing. Symptoms that appear to be cues for a person with asthma to get away from that environment before the asthma attack actually occurs.

According to the NY Times, the existence of receptors of fine hairs, or cilia on airway was discovered accidentally by researchers at the University of Maryland. The findings were published online in the Nature Medicine journal.

The existence of an asthmatic airway response to bitter taste encourages researchers to conduct experiments. By modifying certain compounds that taste bitter, the researchers succeeded in stimulating the respiratory tract to be widened when we inhale.

“Based on this research, we thought the best remedy for asthma is a compound that tastes bitter. If given through inhalation, the effect will be faster,” said Stephen B. Liggett, one of the professors involved in the study.

Allegations that the airways have a sense of taste had actually been stated by Michael J Wels from the University of Iowa, in his research last year. But the latest findings this time ensures that there are receptors that can recognize bitter tastes only.