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Physiol Behav. 2005 Feb 15;84(2):335-42.

Calcium deprivation increases the palatability of calcium solutions in rats.

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Monell Chemical Senses Center, 3500 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-3308, USA.


Calcium-deprived rats have elevated intakes of CaCl2, other calcium salts, and some non-calcium compounds. We used taste reactivity to examine the effects of calcium deprivation on the palatability of CaCl2 and other solutions. Nine male Sprague-Dawley rats were calcium-deprived by maintenance on a low-calcium diet, and eight replete rats were used as controls. All rats were videotaped during intraoral infusion of the following solutions: 30 and 300 mM CaCl2, 30 mM calcium lactate, 100 and 600 mM NaCl, 30 mM MgCl2, 1 mM quinine.HCl, 2.5 mM sodium saccharin, and deionized water. We counted individual orofacial and somatic movements elicited by the infusions and used them to calculate total ingestive and aversive scores. Relative to controls, calcium-deprived rats gave a significantly larger number of tongue protrusions and had higher total ingestive scores for CaCl2, calcium lactate, NaCl, and MgCl2. Our results suggest that CaCl2, calcium lactate, NaCl, and MgCl2 taste more palatable to rats when they are calcium-deprived than replete, and this may be responsible for the increased intake of these solutions following calcium deprivation.

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