Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology
More than 200 medications can induce taste disorders in patients. They not only reduce quality of life for those affected, but can lead to malnutrition, severe dehydration and difficulty in maintaining a therapeutic regimen. Nevertheless, the impact of drug candidates on taste is rarely evaluated in preclinical toxicology studies during the early stage of drug development. Moreover, knowledge about how to investigate these adverse effect is scarce in the toxicology field. Here, we discuss the clinical status of drug-induced taste disorders in patients, with the goal of providing toxicologists with a broad understanding its prevalence, and how stressful and even dangerous it can be to affected patients. Because taste, smell and oral trigeminal sensation are highly interdependent, we also address drug-induced changes in olfactory and oral somatosensory perceptions. We then review the biology of the gustatory system (including anatomy and histology), and the latest developments about how taste contributes to flavor perception. Finally, we feature recently optimized preclinical approaches to investigate drug-induced taste change in animal models, including the development of biomarkers, morphological evaluation of taste buds and taste cells, gustatory nerve recording, and behavioral testing. Our goals are to raise awareness of drug-induced taste disorders among toxicologists, share an overview of new approaches and key studies that can be used to identify drug-induced gustatory system toxicity early in the drug development process, and to stimulate further research at this emerging interface of chemosensory disorders with toxicology.