Regulation of Fat Taste by Adiposity and Endocannabinoids: Implications for Obesity

Project Details


Project Summary/Abstract: The enjoyment of fat-rich foods has benefitted our species by providing necessary energy, as well as lipid components that are crucial for growth and development. Thus, it is no surprise that fatty acid detection components have been recently identified in taste tissue, likely evolved for the necessary intake of energy and essential fatty acids. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has recently been implicated in both the detection of and reward conferred by fatty acids in fatty foods. These detection and reward systems serve to increase intake of triglyceride-rich foods, which is evolutionarily advantageous. Today, an overabundance of LCFAs, especially omega 6 and saturated fatty acids, are present in processed foods and snacks (doughnuts, ice cream, etc.), adding to the growing global obesity phenomenon. In particular, the anabolic ECS that drives consumption by strengthening fat intake reward is damaging health in the Western food environment. We presently seek to understand how the endocannabinoid system impacts oral fatty acid detection and the hedonic evaluation of fatty, palatable foods, as well as how these parameters are altered in obese individuals. These experiments will allow us to understand how to develop therapeutic targets of the ECS in order to sensitize ‘fat taste’ and reduce the desire for and consumption of fatty foods in obese individuals.
Effective start/end date12/1/2211/30/23


  • National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: $232,909.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.