Researchers have discovered that lung tissue contains taste receptors sensitive to 'bitter' -- though the receptors aren't clustered in 'taste buds,' and don't send any messages to the brain about the flavor of air. Writing in the journal Nature Medicine, a team of researchers at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins describe their investigations into the receptor discovery. Surprisingly, the receptors don't appear to be merely a defense mechanism against potentially harmful bitter compounds. In fact, the researchers found that when bitter compounds were introduced to mouse airways, the receptors could cause constricted airways to relax. The find, they say, could lead to improved treatments for asthma. We'll find out more.
Produced by Christopher Intagliata, Associate Senior Producer