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Neurosci Lett. 2009 Feb 27;451(3):190-3. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.12.054. Epub 2009 Jan 6.

Conditioned flavor preference learning by intragastric administration of L-glutamate in rats.

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  • 1Institute of Life Sciences, Ajinomoto Co., Inc., Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki 210-8681, Japan.


The preference for foods or fluids in rats is partly dependent on its postingestive consequences. Many studies have investigated postingestive effect of high caloric substances, such as carbohydrate or fat. In this study, we examined postingestive effect of L-glutamate at the preferable concentration using conditioned flavor preference paradigm. Adult male rats with chronic intragastric (IG) cannula were trained to drink a flavored solution (conditioned stimulus; CS+) paired with IG infusion of nutrient solution and another flavored solution (CS-) with IG distilled water infusion on alternate days. The nutrient solution was 60mM monosodium L-glutamate, sodium chloride or glucose. Before and after conditioning, rats received 30min two-bottle choice tests for CS+ and CS- solution. All groups exhibited no significant preference for CS+ in pre-test period. By the last half of conditioning period, intake of CS+ solution was significantly higher than that of CS- in MSG group, but not in NaCl and glucose groups. After conditioned, the MSG group showed significantly higher intake and preference for CS+ solution (69.9%), while the NaCl and glucose group did not show any significant intake and preference for CS+ solution (50.9%, 43.5%, respectively). These results indicate that the amino acid L-glutamate at a preferable concentration has a positive postingestive effect as demonstrated by its ability to condition a flavor preference. The mechanism(s) for this positive effect could be through a direct effect on gut Glu receptors rather than the provision of calories or glucose from metabolized Glu; Further studies are needed to test these hypotheses.

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