Taste detection and discrimination performance of rats following selective desalivation

Physiol Behav. 1990 Nov;48(5):617-23. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(90)90200-n.


Taste sensitivity and responsivity, two-tastant and taste-mixture discrimination performance, and taste preferences were examined prior to and after the selective desalivation of 48 male Long-Evans rats. Altered preference behavior was observed in rats after removal of the major salivary glands, as well as after removal of only the submandibular-sublingual complexes. In 9 of 12 desalivated rats, decreased sensitivity and increased responsivity to near-threshold sodium chloride solutions were observed, although these changes were less than one-half an order of magnitude. No between-group differences in performance on two-tastant and taste-mixture discrimination tasks were observed. These results suggest that decrements in absolute sensitivity do not result in concomitant deficits in the discrimination of taste qualities.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Food Preferences / physiology
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Saliva / physiology*
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Threshold / physiology*