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Brain Res. 2007 Jun 2;1151:74-83. Epub 2007 Mar 13.

Chorda tympani nerve transection impairs the gustatory detection of free fatty acids in male and female rats.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Wofford College, 429 North Church Street, Spartanburg, SC 29303, USA.


Sprague-Dawley rats with intact (SHAM) and bilaterally transected chorda tympani nerves (CTX) received conditioned taste aversions (CTAs) to the free fatty acids (FFAs), linoleic and oleic acid, at micromolar quantities. Two-bottle preference tests showed that CTX eliminated avoidance of 88 muM linoleic acid but did not affect CTA avoidance of corn oil or 250 mM sucrose. Short-duration stimulus tests following single-pairing CTAs revealed that 8-s stimulus durations resulted in higher detection thresholds for linoleic acid than 30-s trials. In these short-duration tests, CTX rats showed 2-fold elevations in threshold for linoleic acid compared to the SHAM rats. A single-pairing CTA did not produce avoidance of oleic acid during the short-duration tests; however, 3 consecutive days of CTA pairings did produce avoidance of oleic acid in both male and female rats. Finally, both male and female rats received SHAM or CTX surgery after demonstrating successful CTAs to either 100 microM linoleic or oleic acid. The ability to detect and avoid linoleic and oleic acid was eliminated by CTX for both sexes. Differences in the ability of rats to form CTAs to linoleic and oleic acid suggest that linoleic acid is a more salient stimulus than oleic acid. Our results suggest that FFAs stimulate afferent taste signals in the chorda tympani nerve of male and female rats and that these signals play an important role in the gustatory behavior of accepting or avoiding taste stimuli following a conditioned taste aversion.

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