ACHEMS 2019
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SPLTRAK Abstract Submission
FELINE TASTE CELL LINES: A PROMISING TOOL FOR PALATABILITY INVESTIGATION IN CATS
Christiane Gras1, Emilie A. Leclerc2, Isabelle Guiller2, Michael Krohn1, Aurelie de Ratuld2
1BRAIN AG, Zwingenberg, Germany
2Diana Petfood, Elven, France

Cat food palatability performance strongly depends on the interaction between food properties, pet sensory equipment and individual preferences. Among the key drivers of palatability in cats, taste is of particular importance. Palatability enhancers are commonly added to cat formula to increase food acceptability, and sensory evaluations are conducted with cats to validate palatants performance. This crucial development step is time consuming and requires a high number of animals. The aim of this study was to develop a high throughput screening (HTS) cellular tool, based on genuine cat taste cells, able to mimic cats’ answer to taste compounds. Biopsy samples from cat lingual epithelium containing taste buds from circumvallate papillae were used to obtain primary taste cells. Isolated cell populations were immortalized. Different taste solutions including amino acids and complex palatants were tested with cats using sensory evaluation in order to select molecules that positively or negatively impacted palatability. The active tastants were used as benchmark to validate the taste functionality of the cell lines, using HTS-compatible cell-based functional assays, e.g. calcium and membrane potential imaging. Several proliferating cat taste cell populations that functionally responded to the same tastants than the cats were successfully generated. More importantly, synergistic effects observed in cat sensorial evaluation were also observed in cat taste cell assays. This unique in vitro cellular tool could be used to efficiently identify novel palatable ingredients for cat while reducing the number of sensory evaluations with animals. Moreover, it will allow a better understanding of the mechanisms behind cat taste perception and modulation.