Purpose of review
Polyphenols display beneficial health effects through chemopreventive actions on numerous chronic diseases including cancers, metabolic disorders, reproductive disorders and eating behaviour disorders. According to the principle of chemoreception, polyphenols bind cellular targets capable of accepting their stereochemistry, namely metabolizing enzymes and protein receptors, including taste receptors. The extraoral expression of taste receptors and their pharmacological interest in terms of novel drug therapies open up new perspectives on the potential use of these compounds and their interactions with other chemicals in cells. These new perspectives suggest the need to examine these phytochemicals further. However, most polyphenols have a bitterness property that may disrupt the acceptability of healthy foods or dietary supplements.
Polyphenols bind to oral and extraoral bitter type 2 taste receptors, which modulate the signalling pathways involved in anti-inflammatory processes and metabolic and dietary regulations. Depending on their chemical nature, polyphenols may act as activators or inhibitors of taste receptors, and combinations of polyphenols (or herbal mixtures) may be used to modulate the acceptability of bitterness.
The current review summarizes recent findings on polyphenol chemoreception and highlights the evidence of healthy effects through type 2 taste receptor mediation in signalling pathways, such as new targets, with promising perspectives.