Vestibular lesions selectively abolish body rotation-induced, but not lithium-induced, conditioned taste aversions (oral rejection responses) in rats

Behav Neurosci. 2003 Feb;117(1):105-12.


Pairing a novel taste with provocative vestibular stimulation results in conditioned taste aversions in both rats and humans. Vestibular system involvement in gustatory conditioning was examined in sham-lesioned or labyrinthectomized rats. Three conditioning trials consisted of 30 min access to asaccharin (0.1%) solution followed by 30 min of rotation (70 rpm) or sham rotation. In a taste reactivity test with saccharin, rotated sham-lesioned rats, but not labyrinthectomized rats, exhibited increased oral rejection reactions compared with control rats. When conditioned with lithium chloride, both labyrinthectomized and sham-lesioned rats displayed robust conditioned rejection reactions. The finding that normal vestibular function is necessary in obtaining rotation-induced conditioned taste aversions supports the face and construct validity of a rat model of motion sickness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimanic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Avoidance Learning*
  • Conditioning, Classical
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Lithium Chloride / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Motion Sickness / physiopathology*
  • Motor Activity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Taste*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / pathology*


  • Antimanic Agents
  • Lithium Chloride