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Finally, they looked at another set of mutant mice that were not able to produce a molecule called TNF alpha, a compound that creates inflammation in the body. TNF alpha levels are generally higher in obese individuals. When these mice became fatter, their taste sensitivity also did not decrease. Therefore, they realized taste bud loss could be associated with inflammation, which has been linked with obesity.
"These data together suggest that gross adiposity stemming from chronic exposure to a high-fat diet is associated with a low-grade inflammatory response causing a disruption in the balancing mechanisms of taste bud maintenance and renewal," lead author Robin Dando said in a statement.
While the researchers acknowledged they haven’t tested humans yet, they believe their findings are strong. They think the condition could make it more challenging for obese individuals to follow particular diets.
Furthermore, they noted that the loss is temporary as those who underwent bariatric surgery noticed their foods tasted better a few months after the procedure, according to another study.
Now the researchers said they hope to further their investigations to help “point to novel therapeutic strategies for alleviating taste dysfunction in obese populations."
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