Enhanced sucrose and Polycose preference in sweet "sensitive" (C57BL/6J) and "subsensitive" (129P3/J) mice after experience with these saccharides

Physiol Behav. 2006 Apr 15;87(4):745-56. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2006.01.016. Epub 2006 Mar 9.


Prior research with inbred mouse strains indicates that C57BL/6J (B6) mice display stronger preference and acceptance for various sweeteners than do 129P3/J (129) mice. Experiment 1 examined the extent to which this strain difference could be modified by repeated exposure to sucrose. Sucrose-naive 129 mice displayed weaker preferences than did B6 mice for 0.5% to 4% sucrose solutions during 23h/day sugar vs. water tests. Sucrose preference did not differ at 8-32% concentrations. Yet, when retested with sucrose, the 129 and B6 mice showed identical robust preferences (>90%) for 0.5-32% solutions. The strains also did not differ in sucrose preference in tests with descending sucrose concentrations (0.5-0.0625%). Sucrose-experienced 129 mice also showed enhanced preference for dilute saccharin solutions suggesting that their sweet taste responsivity was enhanced. Experiment 2 revealed that preference for dilute saccharin solutions was enhanced by prior saccharin experience in B6 but not 129 mice. Experiment 3 tested the strains with Polycose which has a palatable taste different from that of sucrose. Polycose-naive 129 mice displayed weaker preferences for dilute (0.5-4%) but not concentrated (8-32%) Polycose solutions relative to B6 mice. In the second test series Polycose preferences were nearly identical in the two strains. In Experiments 1 and 3, prior sucrose or Polycose experience also reduced or eliminated strain differences in saccharide acceptance (absolute intake) at higher but not lower concentrations. Thus, exposure to the oral and post-oral actions of sucrose and Polycose increased saccharide preference in B6 mice and even more in 129 mice so that the strain difference virtually disappeared. Whether the 129 mice responded to the taste or other properties (e.g., odor) of the dilute saccharide solutions is not certain but their gustatory sensitivity needs to be reconsidered.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Appetitive Behavior / physiology
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology
  • Drinking Behavior / physiology*
  • Food Preferences / physiology*
  • Glucans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Motivation
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Sucrose
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Taste / genetics
  • Taste / physiology*


  • Glucans
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Sucrose