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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1987 Summer;11(2):187-96.

Qualitative differences in polysaccharide and sugar tastes in the rat: a two-carbohydrate taste model.


A conditioned taste aversion paradigm was used to assess the qualitative similarities between the tastes of a polysaccharide (Polycose) solution and sugar solutions (sucrose, maltose, glucose, fructose). In Experiment I, three groups of female rats were water deprived and conditioned to avoid a 0.025 M Polycose, a 0.1 M sucrose, or a 0.1 M maltose solution by pairing solution consumption with a lithium chloride (LiCl) injection; in a control group water consumption was paired with the LiCl injection. The extent to which the experimental groups generalized their conditioned aversion to the other three solutions was then assessed. The Polycose-conditioned group avoided the maltose solution more than the sucrose solution, and the maltose-conditioned group avoided the Polycose solution more than the sucrose solution. The sucrose-conditioned group avoided the maltose and Polycose solutions to the same relatively low degree. In additional tests the three experimental groups showed similar aversions to a glucose solution, but only the sucrose-conditioned rats avoided a fructose solution. Rats in a second experiment also displayed relatively little cross-generalization between Polycose and sucrose aversions even though they were tested with different solution concentrations. Additional tests confirmed the results obtained in Experiment 1 with maltose, glucose, and fructose solutions, and also revealed that the sucrose-conditioned group, but not the Polycose-conditioned group avoided saccharin solutions. Neither Polycose- nor sucrose-conditioned groups avoided quinine, sodium chloride, or hydrochloric acid solutions. These results, along with other recent findings, suggest that rats have two types of "carbohydrate" taste receptors, one for polysaccharides and one for sucrose, which produce qualitatively distinct gustatory sensations.

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