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Previous studies reported that NaCl intake was down-regulated in rats with bilateral lesions of the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA). In line with the evidence from anatomical and physiological studies, such an inhibition could be the result of altered taste threshold for NaCl, one of the important factors in assessing taste functions. To assess the effect of CeA on the taste threshold for NaCl, a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) to a suprathreshold concentration of NaCl (0.1M) in rats with bilateral lesions of CeA or sham lesions was first established. And then, two-bottle choice tests between water and a series of concentrations of NaCl were conducted. The taste threshold for NaCl is defined as the lowest concentration at which there is a reliable difference scores between conditioned and control subjects. Rats with CeA lesions acquired a taste aversion for 0.1M NaCl when it was paired with LiCl and still retained the aversion after the two-bottle choice test. The results of the two-bottle choice test showed that the taste threshold for NaCl was 0.0006M in rats with CeA lesions, whereas in rats with sham lesions the threshold was 0.005M, which was identical to that of normal rats. The conditioned results confirm the claim that CeA is not essential in the profile of conditioned taste aversion. Our findings demonstrate that lesions of the CeA increased the sensitivity to NaCl taste in rats, indicating that the CeA may be involved in encoding the intensity of salty gustation elicited by NaCl. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Jinrong Li, Jianqun Yan, Ke Chen, Bo Lu, Qian Wang, Wei Yan, Xiaolin Zhao. Lesions of the central nucleus of the amygdala decrease taste threshold for sodium chloride in rats. Brain research bulletin. 2012 Oct 1;89(1-2):8-15

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PMID: 22796484

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