Effects of selective lingual gustatory deafferentation on suprathreshold taste intensity discrimination of NaCl in rats

Behav Neurosci. 2004 Dec;118(6):1409-17. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.118.6.1409.


In rats, chorda tympani nerve transection (CTX) greatly increases the detection threshold of sodium chloride (NaCl) and severely disrupts salt discriminability. Here it is shown that CTX has surprisingly little effect, if any, on suprathreshold intensity discrimination. Glossopharyngeal nerve transection (GLX), which has no reported effect on salt sensibility, also did not affect performance. Rats were tested in a 2-response, operant taste intensity discrimination task. Difference thresholds for CTX rats were only slightly higher (-0.15 log/10 unit) than those for GLX and sham-transected rats, when 0.05 M served as the standard, and did not significantly differ when 0.1 M NaCl was the standard. Although the perceived intensity of NaCl might be reduced by CTX, input from remaining taste nerves sufficiently maintains the relative discriminability of suprathreshold NaCl concentrations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Chorda Tympani Nerve / physiology*
  • Denervation
  • Differential Threshold / physiology
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology*
  • Glossopharyngeal Nerve / physiology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / administration & dosage
  • Sodium Chloride*
  • Taste / physiology
  • Taste Buds / physiology
  • Taste Threshold / physiology*


  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic
  • Sodium Chloride