The tongue in your lung that fights asthma


By Andy Coghlan TASTE receptors for bitter flavours have been discovered in lung tissue. What’s more, they respond to bitter substances by dilating the airways of asthmatic mice, paving the way for a different approach to asthma treatment. “They opened up the bronchi much better than beta-agonists, the standard therapies for asthma,” says Stephen Liggett at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, head of the group who made the discovery. Liggett’s team identified the taste receptors after screening for active genes in the smooth muscle cells that constrict or dilate the airways. They had assumed the receptors would be restricted to the tongue,
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