An attack of bronchial asthma can be stopped by substances with a bitter taste, reports the journal PLoS Biology.
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine (USA) have found that bitter taste receptors can help relax muscle cells in the airways. With an attack of bronchial asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), these cells contract, which leads to a narrowing of the airways, causing a lack of air and difficulty breathing.
During the study, it was found that with an attack of bronchial asthma, the ion channels in the membranes of smooth muscle cells are open. Calcium, entering them into the cell, contributes to its contraction, provoking a narrowing of the airways. Bitter tastants interact with bitter taste receptors that are coupled to G-proteins. This leads to the breakdown of the G protein into two parts, which are called the alpha subunit and beta-gamma dimer. The G-beta-gamma complex provides overlapping calcium channels on the cell membrane. This leads to a decrease in the tone of the smooth muscle cells of the respiratory tract. After blocking the channels, the level of calcium is normalized, and the attack of bronchial asthma stops.
The fact that T2RS taste receptors are located not only in the mouth, but also in the upper and lower parts of the respiratory tract, has been recently established. It was found that they are directly related to the body’s ability to defend itself against infection.