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dietary sodium, genetic variation, heart failure, pilot project, taste perception



  1. Smith, Jennifer L. PhD, RN
  2. Mudd-Martin, Gia PhD, MPH, RN, FAHA
  3. Estus, Steven PhD
  4. Lennie, Terry A. PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN
  5. Chung, Misook L. PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN


Background: Adherence to a low-sodium diet is essential to self-care of heart failure (HF). Genetic determinants of preference for high-sodium foods may impede adherence but have not been well-studied.


Objective: Our purpose was to examine if TAS2R38 haplotype predicted salt taste sensitivity and dietary sodium intake among patients with HF.


Method: This pilot study used baseline data from a large interventional randomized control trial to support adherence to a low-sodium diet in patients with HF and their family caregivers. Participants were tested for salt taste sensitivity and provided a 24-hour urinary sodium sample and a blood sample for DNA analysis at baseline. Fungiform papillae were counted. [chi]2 Test and 1-way analysis of variance were used to compare haplotype groups. Linear regression was performed to examine predictors of salt taste sensitivity and 24-hour urinary sodium excretion, controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, smoking status, and fungiform papillae density.


Results: There were 42 patients with HF and their family caregivers (age, 64.6 +/- 13.4 years, 46.5% male, 97.7% white, and 90.7% nonsmoker). Pronine-alanine-valine homozygous haplotype predicted lower urinary sodium excretion (b = -1780.59, t41 = -2.18, P = .036), but genotype was not a significant predictor of salt taste sensitivity.


Conclusions: The results of our study partially supported our hypothesis that PAV homozygous haplotype predicts 24-hour urinary sodium excretion. With our small sample size, more research is needed. Understanding genetic influences on taste can lead to development of educational interventions tailored to patients with HF and their family caregivers to better support dietary adherence.