SPLTRAK Abstract Submission
Bitter and Sweet Taste Perception are Reflective of Chronic Rhinosinusitis
Noam A. Cohen1,2,3,, Ivy W. Maina1,2, Lauren R. Colquitt1, Cailu Lin1, Cowart J. Beverly1, Danielle R. Reed1
1Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA, United States
2Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States
3Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA, United States

Drawing on recent studies of taste pathways and nasal immune function, we hypothesized that bitter and sweet taste sensitivity would predict nasal symptoms. To that end, we recruited 786 adult chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) patients with endoscopic evidence of sinonasal inflammation (mucosal edema or polypoid degeneration) or overt mucopurulence. Control subjects unselected for chronic nasal disease were recruited from community (n=377) and clinical locations (n=49) were recruited. Both the CRS patients and the control subjects were evaluated for their sense of taste (sweet, bitter, and salty stimuli, water used as control) and most subjects completed the SNOT-22 questionnaire which measures the severity of sinonasal disease. All subjects were genotyped with molecular markers (rs713598, rs10246939, rs1726866) within the TAS2R38 bitter receptor gene. Using propensity score matching for age, sex and smoking between CRS and controls, we detected significant differences between cases and controls for taste intensity ratings of sweet (sucrose, p=0.024) and bitter (PTC, p=0.032; denatonium benzoate, p=0.029; quinine, p<0.001) but not salty (NaCl, p=0.871) or water (p=0.126). Likewise, subjects with high SNOT-22 scores (more sinonasal disease) rated bitter compounds as less intense than did subjects with lower SNOT-22 score (p<0.001). Finally, cases were less likely than controls to have the taster haplotype for TAS2R38 (taster haplotype of TAS2R38; p=0.004). These results suggest that taste testing may have clinical utility in understanding chronic nasal infections and that development of taste tests with more diagnostic or prognostic potential are warranted.