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Chem Senses. 2009 May;34(4):277-93. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjp001. Epub 2009 Feb 2.

A high-throughput method to measure NaCl and acid taste thresholds in mice.

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  • 1Monell Chemical Senses Center, 3500 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. yutaka_ishiwatari@ajinomoto.com


To develop a technique suitable for measuring NaCl taste thresholds in genetic studies, we conducted a series of experiments with outbred CD-1 mice using conditioned taste aversion (CTA) and two-bottle preference tests. In Experiment 1, we compared conditioning procedures involving either oral self-administration of LiCl or pairing NaCl intake with LiCl injections and found that thresholds were the lowest after LiCl self-administration. In Experiment 2, we compared different procedures (30-min and 48-h tests) for testing conditioned mice and found that the 48-h test is more sensitive. In Experiment 3, we examined the effects of varying strength of conditioned (NaCl or LiCl taste intensity) and unconditioned (LiCl toxicity) stimuli and concluded that 75-150 mM LiCl or its mixtures with NaCl are the optimal stimuli for conditioning by oral self-administration. In Experiment 4, we examined whether this technique is applicable for measuring taste thresholds for other taste stimuli. Results of these experiments show that conditioning by oral self-administration of LiCl solutions or its mixtures with other taste stimuli followed by 48-h two-bottle tests of concentration series of a conditioned stimulus is an efficient and sensitive method to measure taste thresholds. Thresholds measured with this technique were 2 mM for NaCl and 1 mM for citric acid. This approach is suitable for simultaneous testing of large numbers of animals, which is required for genetic studies. These data demonstrate that mice, like several other species, generalize CTA from LiCl to NaCl, suggesting that they perceive taste of NaCl and LiCl as qualitatively similar, and they also can generalize CTA of a binary mixture of taste stimuli to mixture components.

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