Differential involvement of gustatory insular cortex and amygdala in the acquisition and retrieval of conditioned taste aversion in rats

Behav Brain Res. 1992 Nov 30;52(1):91-7. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(05)80328-6.


Lesion studies of the role of the gustatory insular cortex (GC) and amygdala (Am) in conditioned taste aversion (CTA) are confounded by the irreversibility of the intervention. Functional ablation methods allow more specific influencing of different phases of CTA acquisition and retrieval. Bilateral tetrodotoxin (TTX) blockade of GC (10 ng) or Am (3 ng) before or after saccharin drinking in rats with chronically implanted intracerebral cannulae showed that GC is indispensable for the initial processing of the taste stimulus but not for the association of the gustatory trace with the symptoms of LiCl poisoning. Gustatory signals can by-pass the blocked Am, the inactivation of which, however, impairs the gustatory trace-poisoning association. TTX injection into both GC and Am impairs CTA retrieval more than isolated blockade of either of these structures. It is argued that GC and Am implement processing of gustatory and visceral signals, respectively, but that formation and consolidation of the CTA engram proceeds outside forebrain, probably at the level of the brainstem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Association Learning / physiology
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Chlorides / toxicity
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Lithium / toxicity
  • Lithium Chloride
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology
  • Taste / physiology*


  • Chlorides
  • Lithium
  • Lithium Chloride