Is sonic hedgehog expression in saliva related to taste sensitivity in adults?


PHYSIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR, vol.236, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 236
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2021.113412
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Animal Behavior Abstracts, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Artic & Antarctic Regions, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Psycinfo, Veterinary Science Database
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Recent studies have demonstrated the critical role of the sonic hedgehog in the sensory perception of taste. Salivary sonic hedgehog stimulates taste bud stem cells, also acts as a taste bud growth factor, and contributes to the receptors' development and longevity in the taste buds. This study's objective was to investigate the possible relationship between taste sensitivity and sonic hedgehog expression in saliva in normal-weight and pre-obese/obese participants (totally 46 male (47.8%) and female (52.2%) aged 19-44 were recruited). Thresholds for the six tastes (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, umami and fat) were investigated using 3-Alternate Forced Choice Methodology. Saliva was collected with the draining method for sonic hedgehog expression analysis. The results indicated significantly higher thresholds for sweet, bitter and fat in pre-obese/obese adults than normal-weight adults (p<0.05). The sonic hedgehog expression was also lower in pre-obese/obese participants than normal-weight participants (p<0.05). Furthermore, sonic hedgehog expression was higher in hypersensitive participants than hyposensitive participants (p<0.05) only among normal-weight individuals, with no significant difference in sonic hedgehog expression level by taste sensitivity in pre-obese/obese individuals (p>0.05). Sonic hedgehog expression level was negatively correlated with body mass index, sweet, salty, bitter and fat taste threshold. The study results indicated that sonic hedgehog expression level acted on taste sensitivity in normal-weight participants, with greater expression in hypersensitive individuals than hyposensitive individuals.