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The smell of food induces a variety of physiological processes in our body. Thus, the production of saliva and digestive enzymes is stimulated before the actual food intake in order to prepare the gastrointestinal tract for the upcoming digestive process. In a healthy organism, this coordination depends on a dynamic balance between formation and degradation of proteins (proteostasis). This plays an important role for the recycling of cells and during the aging process.
Scientists of Thorsten Hoppe's lab at the University of Cologne have has demonstrated the influence of food odours on proteostasis. The experimental investigations were carried out in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, a fundamental model organism in biomedical research. Their finding: two of the 358 neurons that form the nematode nervous system are part of the olfactory system, and thus important for odour perception.
Researchers - Influence - Smell - Physiology - Tract
The researchers were able to uncover the influence of smell on the physiology of the digestive tract by investigating the recycling of green fluorescent proteins in the intestine. The brighter the green fluorescent signal within the worms, the more severe the accumulation of cellular waste, strongly correlating with defective protein degradation.
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