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Chem Senses. 2011 Jul;36(6):515-26. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjr011. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor paroxetine does not alter consummatory concentration-dependent licking of prototypical taste stimuli by rats.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Florida State University, 1107 West Call Street, PO Box 30634301, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4301, USA.


Serotonin and the 5HT(1A) receptor are expressed in a subset of taste receptor cells, and the 5HT(3) receptor is expressed on afferent fibers innervating taste buds. Exogenous administration of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, paroxetine, has been shown to increase taste sensitivity to stimuli described by humans as sweet and bitter. Serotonergic agonists also decrease food and fluid intake, and it is possible that modulations of serotonin may alter taste-based hedonic responsiveness; alternatively, or in combination, serotonin may interact with physiological state to impact ingestive behavior. In this study, the unconditioned licking of prototypical taste stimuli by rats in brief-access taste tests was assessed following paroxetine administration (0.3-10 mg/kg intraperitoneal). We also measured sucrose licking by rats in different deprivation states after paroxetine (5 mg/kg). In neither experiment did we find any evidence of an effect of paroxetine on licking relative to water to any of the taste stimuli in the brief-access test at doses that decreased food intake. However, in some conditions, paroxetine decreased trials initiated to tastants. Therefore, a systemic increase in serotonin via paroxetine administration can decrease appetitive behavior in brief-access tests but is insufficient to alter taste-guided consummatory behavior.

© The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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