Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Genetic sensitivity to bitter taste of 6-n Propylthiouracil: A useful diagnostic aid to detect early childhood caries in pre-school children

Indian Journal of Human Genetics
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 101-105

Purpose: Genetic factor to bitter taste perception appears to be largely mediated by the TAS2R38 gene. The insensitivity to bitter compounds like 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) is mediated by this gene. PROP, a pharmacological drug used in treatment of Graves' disease, proved to be useful tool in determining the genetic sensitivity levels to bitter and sweet taste. The purpose of this study is to show much simpler PROP sensitivity technique for the clinical examiner and its application as a diagnostic aid in Early Childhood Caries (ECC) detection among preschool children.
Materials and Methods: A total of 119 children belonging to the age group of 36 to 71 months of both sexes, were recruited from A. J. Institute of Dental Sciences, Mangalore (Karnataka). PROP sensitivity test was carried out to determine the inherent genetic ability to taste a bitter or sweet substance. This study used simpler scaling method to find out genetic sensitivity to bitter taste; one who tasted bitter as taster and one who was not able to differentiate/tasted like paper as non-taster. A questionnaire was provided to evaluate their dietary habits and caries experience was recorded. Collected data were tabulated and subjected to statistical analysis.
Results: In the total of 119 children the mean dmfs was definitely higher in non-taster children compared to tasters. The tasters had a mean dmfs value of 9.5120 (S.D. 7.0543) and non-tasters had a value of 7.7250 (S.D. 8.33147), which was statistically significant. The results suggested that there was increase in caries experience among the group of non-tasters as compared to tasters. Tasters tended to be sweet dislikers and non-tasters tended to be sweet likers. On the whole, tasters had a bad dentition as compared to non tasters.
Conclusion: The PROP sensitivity test (filter paper test) proved to be a useful diagnostic tool in determining the genetic sensitivity levels of bitter taste. The knowledge of a child's taste perception can help us in identifying the children who are at higher risk for ECC.

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