Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center made a startling discovery while investigating the sense of taste in mice: not only do mice have taste receptors on their testicles, but any attempt to remove these taste receptors results in infertility. We're not sure which is weirder.
The taste buds on the tongue include lots of taste receptors, little bits of protein that bond with other chemicals to detect and signal flavor. But taste receptors are also found all over the place. You've got some in your hard palate, which makes sense, but they're also all over your body and internal organs. And mice, it seems, have them in their testicles.
The taste receptors have the ability to distinguish broad categories of flavor--sweet, sour, salty, umami, bitter.
Oddly, when the researchers removed the testicle receptors, or blocked their ability to sense and deliver information to the brain, the mice became completely sterile. Sperm count plummeted, spermatozoa failed to develop properly, and the mice completely lost their ability to procreate.
Why does this happen? Well, the researchers have no idea. They don't even know how the taste receptors are related to fertility, let alone why. But it's a new avenue of research that could lead to treatment for infertility in humans. Or not! It might just lead to research about mouse testicles. Which is fine too.
It does kind of explain why mouse traps get the mouse in the leaving position. We thought the mouse was escaping, but in fact he was tasting, lol.
If a mouse is caught wearing a g-string, it not really a g-string, but in fact he is flossing, lol.
i wonder could they be like ph detectors or somthing similar that let the body monitor the environment in the mice's balls? and when the researchers removed them the body could not detect anything amiss so didn't correct imbalances that killed off the sperm?
It could be as simple as tasting as they run, learning where a snack might be for later.
Eating Yogurt Turns Mice into Giant-Balled Seduction Machines
"...Then the researchers spotted something particular about the males: they projected their testes outward, which endowed them with a certain "mouse swagger," Erdman says. On measuring the males, they found that the testicles of the yogurt consumers were about 5 percent heavier than those of mice fed typical diets alone and around 15 percent heavier than those of junk-eating males..."
"... Oh my god. Can't we women just have one thing to ourselves without a pair of giant testicles swooping in and making it all about them? Last week I found out they're making push-up bras for your nutsack. Now it turns out that yogurt—our precious lady-nectar!—might make men's testicle-balls bigger, spermier, and covered in lustrous, downy fur. Seriously, yogurt? Et tu? What's next—are they going to announce that watching House Hunters International makes your semen taste like fondue? Can we not have ONE THING?
MIT researchers, exploring the relationship between yogurt consumption and obesity, fed a group of 80 mice either a junk food diet or a standard diet, supplementing half of each group with yogurt. As expected, the junk-food mice wound up fatter and slower than the standard-diet mice, and the mice that ate the standard diet plus yogurt were the slimmest of all. This suggests that incorporating probiotics into one's diet can help with weight loss. Also (favorite sentence): "the scientists noticed that the yogurt-eating mice were incredibly shiny." Sparkle, you special little mouse! Sparkle!
But what the researchers didn't anticipate was this: Those mices' balls got HUGE:
Then the researchers spotted something particular about the males: they projected their testes outward, which endowed them with a certain "mouse swagger," Erdman says. On measuring the males, they found that the testicles of the yogurt consumers were about 5 percent heavier than those of mice fed typical diets alone and around 15 percent heavier than those of junk-eating males.
Oh my god, mouse swagger.
Great. So now yogurt—OUR YOGURT—is some sort of magic machismo superfood for men. I can't wait to get hit on by aspiring pick-up artists wearing CamelBaks filled with Yoplait under their zebra-print dusters—mainly because, according to science, it will probably work! I will be helpless before the swagger of these sparkling man-mouses!
But, to be fair, the magic yogurt does have some effect on woman-mice too:
Conversely, females that ate the yogurt diets gave birth to larger litters and weaned those pups with greater success.
So once I get seduced by the Mystery Mouse, I'll be able to successfully whelp hella babies wearing tiny fur top-hats and steampunk novelty goggles. Awesome. Thanks for nothing, yogurt... "
Inactivation of taste genes causes male sterility
"... Scientists report the surprising finding that two proteins involved in oral taste detection also play a crucial role in sperm development. In addition, the human form of one protein is blocked by the lipid-lowering drug clofibrate, perhaps linking this and related compounds to the rising global incidence of human infertility... "
@dboy485 and @starsShineBright It seems strange to me that they have no idea why it's linked to infertility - as starshine has shone, this is apparently true for human males too and perhaps all or most mammals wouldn't be a strech. I know it's not tested and proven, but it doesn't seem to be much of a leap that the reason the body has taste receptors all over is to monitor for different toxins, ph levels, etc so that the body can react correctly. In the study of human fertility the knockout of taste receptors didn't make the humans infertile by some "separate effect on fertility" it was a direct effect of not being able to monitor sperm production.
Taste receptors are little more than chemical sensors used by the brain for a purpose. No doubt these receptors are used to assess the condition of the internal organs, such as pH, fluid content, etc., so it's not a stretch to think that "taste" receptors could be utilized to ensure the proper conditions for sperm production. Without input from these sensory cells, the brain assumes the conditions for production are not being met, and shuts it down.
Are these cells associated with a specific nerve bundle? In other words could mouse, and possibly a human male contraceptive be as simple a cutting a nerve or using Botox on it and last for months or even years per injection.
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