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Behav Brain Res. 2006 Jul 15;171(1):134-41. Epub 2006 May 4.

Oxytocin null mice ingest enhanced amounts of sweet solutions during light and dark cycles and during repeated shaker stress.

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Shady Side Academy, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Central oxytocin (OT) pathways appear to limit consumption of sweet solutions. Male and female C57BL/6 mice that lack the gene for oxytocin (OT KO mice) displayed an initial and sustained enhanced intake of sucrose solution over water compared to wild type (WT) mice when the solutions were presented as a two-bottle choice [Amico JA, Vollmer RR, Cai HM, Miedlar JA, Rinaman R. Enhanced initial and sustained intake of sucrose solution in mice with an oxytocin gene deletion. Am J Physiol: Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2005;289:R1798-806]. In this study we examined the ingestion of a non-nutritive sweetener, 0.2% saccharin in sucrose-experienced OT KO and WT mice given a two-bottle choice between saccharin solution and water available ad libitum for 4 days. Compared to WT mice, OT KO mice consumed significantly greater volumes of saccharin solution during the dark and light photoperiods on the first day and subsequent days of the study. The results were replicated when the experiment was repeated in the same animals. In another experiment, we determined that daily exposure to platform shaker stress did not alter the marked sucrose consumption in OT KO mice. OT KO mice drank significantly more sucrose than WT mice during periods of stress and non-stress. We conclude that the avid consumption of sweetened solutions by OT KO mice is not restricted to a single photoperiod, occurs independent of caloric content of the sweetened solution, and is not altered by exposure to the daily stress of platform shaker. The cumulative results from our studies of sucrose and saccharin ingestion in OT KO and WT male and female mice suggest a special role for sweet taste in the recruitment of OT neurons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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