Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sparkling drinks spark pain circuits: Fizzy beverages light up same pain sensors as mustard and horseradish

Date:
September 29, 2010
Source:
University of Southern California
Summary:
The carbon dioxide in carbonated drinks sets off the same pain sensors as mustard and horseradish, according to new study, as well as previously discovered sour-tasting cells on tongue.

New research shows that the carbon dioxide in carbonated drinks sets off the same pain sensors as mustard and horseradish.
Credit: iStockphoto/Jesus Ayala

You may not think of the fizz in soda as spicy, but your body does.

The carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks sets off the same pain sensors in the nasal cavity as mustard and horseradish, though at a lower intensity, according to new research from the University of Southern California.

"Carbonation evokes two distinct sensations. It makes things sour and it also makes them burn. We have all felt that noxious tingling sensation when soda goes down your throat too fast," said Emily Liman, senior author of a study published online in the Journal of Neuroscience.

That burning sensation comes from a system of nerves that respond to sensations of pain, skin pressure and temperature in the nose and mouth.

"What we did not know was which cells and which molecules within those cells are responsible for the painful sensation we experience when we drink a carbonated soda," said Liman, an associate professor of neurobiology in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

By flowing carbonated saline onto a dish of nerve cells from the sensory circuits in the nose and mouth, the researchers found that the gas activated only a particular type of cell.

"The cells that responded to CO2 were the same cells that detect mustard," Liman said.

These cells express a gene known as TRPA1 and serve as general pain sensors.

Mice missing the TRPA1 gene showed "a greatly reduced response" to carbon dioxide, Liman said, while adding the TRPA1 genetic code to CO2-insensitive cells made them responsive to the gas.

Now that carbonated beverages have been linked to pain circuits, some may wonder why we consume them. A new park in Paris even features drinking fountains that dispense free sparkling water.

Liman cited studies going back as far as 1885 that found carbonation dramatically reduced the growth of bacteria.

"Or it may be a macho thing," she speculated.

If only a sip of San Pellegrino were all it took to prove one's hardiness.

The pain-sensing TRPA1 provides only one aspect of carbonation's sensory experience. In 2009, a group led by Charles Zuker of the University of California, San Diego and Nicholas Ryba of the National Institutes of Health showed that carbonation trips cells in the tongue that convey sourness.

Liman's collaborators were lead author Yuanyuan Wang and second author Rui Chang, both graduate students in neurobiology at USC.

The National Institutes of Health funded the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southern California. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y. Y. Wang, R. B. Chang, E. R. Liman. TRPA1 Is a Component of the Nociceptive Response to CO2. Journal of Neuroscience, 2010; 30 (39): 12958 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2715-10.2010

Cite This Page:

University of Southern California. "Sparkling drinks spark pain circuits: Fizzy beverages light up same pain sensors as mustard and horseradish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928171555.htm>.
University of Southern California. (2010, September 29). Sparkling drinks spark pain circuits: Fizzy beverages light up same pain sensors as mustard and horseradish. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928171555.htm
University of Southern California. "Sparkling drinks spark pain circuits: Fizzy beverages light up same pain sensors as mustard and horseradish." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928171555.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins