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Physiol Behav. 1989 Sep;46(3):403-12.

Flavor preferences conditioned by intragastric fat infusions in rats.

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Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College, NY 11210.


The present series of experiments determined if rats would learn to prefer cue flavors that were paired with intragastric (IG) infusions of fat. Adult female rats were fitted with gastric catheters and were trained to drink a flavored (CS+) solution, e.g., cherry-water, associated with IG infusions of a corn oil emulsion. On other days, an alternately flavored (CS-) solution, e.g., grape-water, was paired with IG infusions of water. The preference between the CS solutions was then assessed with 2-bottle choice tests. In Experiment 1, food-restricted rats were given saccharin-sweetened CS solutions for 10 min/day followed by IG infusions of a 7.1% oil emulsion or water. In subsequent choice tests they displayed a small (60%) but significant preference for the CS+ solution. In Experiments 2-5, rats had access to the CS solutions for 20 or 23 hr/day; drinking the CS solutions automatically triggered IG infusions of oil or water (electronic esophagus preparation). Infusions of 7.1% oil failed to produce a significant preference for the CS+ solution in rats given ad lib access to chow, and offered unsweetened CS flavors. Increasing the oil concentration (14.5% and 29%) did not facilitate the formation of a preference, nor did infusing the rats with a preingested oil emulsion. However, rats restricted to 2 hr/day access to chow, and 20 hr/day access to the CS solutions acquired a significant (85%) preference for the CS+ flavor; subsequent training and testing with saccharin-sweetened CS solutions increased the preference for the CS+ flavor to 95%. Ad lib fed rats trained with saccharin-sweetened CS solutions also developed a reliable preference (76%) for the CS+ flavor paired with IG oil; this preference persisted during four extinction tests when both CS+ and CS- flavors were paired with IG water. These results demonstrate that, as with other macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein), the postingestive effects of fats can condition flavor preferences, and suggest that the postingestive actions of nutrients play an important role in food selection and reward.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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