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Salivary Carbonic Anhydrase VI (CA6) is a zinc-dependent metalloenzyme which may be important for normal taste function. Though many taste assessment methods exist, the assessment of zinc sulfate taste acuity is a method that has been suggested to have diverse relationships to human health. A double-blinded pilot study was conducted among 21 individuals to analyze the relationships between salivary CA6 concentrations, zinc sulfate taste acuity and self-reported frequency of illness. ELISA was performed to quantify CA6 concentrations, the Bryce-Smith and Simpson Zinc Taste Test (BS-ZTT) protocol and a Taste Intensity Visual Analog Scale (TI-VAS) were utilized to assess zinc sulfate taste acuity and a health history questionnaire was used to determine the frequency of illness. A statistically significant correlation existed between CA6 concentration and zinc sulfate taste acuity determined via the BS-ZTT (rs = 0.62; p = 0.03). A moderate statistically significant negative correlation was found between self-reported frequency of illness and BS-ZTT scores (rs = -0.64, p = 0.034). Likewise, a strong statistically significant negative correlation was found between self-reported frequency of illness and TI-VAS scores (rs = -0.81, p = 0.003). The results of this pilot study suggest that zinc sulfate taste acuity may be reflective of salivary CA6 concentration in addition to being a retrospective indicator of illness frequency.
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