The mechanism for the perception of bitterness appears to be quite complicated, even for quinine, which is a model bitter substance, and thus has yet to be completely elucidated. To investigate the possibility of being able to predict the bitterness of quinine solutions, we examined the effects of quinine on intracellular calcium ion concentration ([Ca2+]i) and membrane potentials in PC 12 cultures. [Ca2+]i and membrane potentials were analysed by fluorescence confocal microscopic imaging using the Ca 2+-sensitive probe Calcium Green 1/AM and the membrane potential-sensitive probe bis-(1,3-dibutylbarbituric acid) trimethine oxonol (DiBAC4(3)). Quinine elicited an increase in the membrane potential along with a concentration-dependent increase in [Ca2+]i. These increases were inhibited by extracellular Ca2+-free conditions, thapsigargin, which is a Ca2+-pump inhibitor, and U73122, which is a phospholipase C inhibitor. The quinine-induced increase in [Ca2+]i levels was inhibited by nifedipine, an L-type Ca2+-channel blocker, ufconotoxin, a T-type Ca2+-channel blocker, and BMI-40, which is a bitterness-masking substance. These results suggest that responses in PC 12 cultures may be used as a simple model of bitterness perception.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmaceutical Science