Conditioned taste aversion in rats with excitotoxic brain lesions

Takashi Yamamoto, Yoshiyuki Fujimoto, Tsuyoshi Shimura, Nobuyuki Sakai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Citations (Scopus)


Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) is well known to be a robust and long-lasting learning after a single conditioned stimulus (CS) (taste) - unconditioned stimulus (US) (malaise) pairing. The neural mechanisms of this taste aversion learning still remain to be resolved. To elucidate the basic brain mechanisms of the taste aversion leaarning, we examined the effects of lesions of various sites of the rat brain on the acquisition and retention of CTAs. Confined brain lesions were made by injections of a small amount of excitotoxic drug, ibotenic acid. CTAs were established to saccharin (CS) by pairing its ingestion with an i.p. injection of LiCl (US). Rats lacking the parabrachial nucleus (PBN) almost completely failed to acquire CTAs. The second most effective lesion was in the medial thalamus including the parvocellular part of the ventral posteromedial nucleus of the thalamus (VPMpc) and the midline part, followed by the damage of the lateral nuclear group of the amygdala including the basolateral amygdaloid nucleus. Lesions of the gustatory cortex (GC) and hippocampus induced moderate effects, but lesions in the other subnuclei of the amygdala, such as the medial and central amygdaloid nuclei, entorhinal cortex, lateral hypothalamic area, and ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus induced slight or no effects. On the other hand, paired lesions among the amygdala, medial thalamus and GC caused severe impairment of CTAs; in particular, lesions of amygdala and VPMpc completely disrupted acquisition of CTAs. These results suggest that the PBN, medial thalamus and the lateral nuclear group of the amygdala play an essential role in the formation of taste aversion learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-49
Number of pages19
JournalNeuroscience Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995 Mar


  • Brain
  • Conditioned taste aversion
  • Ibotenic acid
  • Learning
  • LiCl
  • Saccharin


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