Qualitative discrimination of gustatory stimuli in three different strains of mice

Brain Res. 1984 Nov 19;322(1):83-92. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(84)91183-1.


Qualitative similarities and differences among various taste stimuli were examined by comparing the generalization patterns of a conditioned aversion from single chemicals to other compounds in 3 different strains of mice (BALB, C3H and C57BL mice). It was observed as a common characteristic in all 3 strains of mice that generalization gradients among sugars and saccharin Na appeared in the order sucrose--saccharin Na--fructose--glucose--maltose, in which the closer stimuli generalized more strongly to each other. Strain differences were found in sensitivities to D-phenylalanine and L-proline, which generalized to sugars and saccharin Na in C57BL mice, but not in BALB and C3H mice. These strain differences correspond quite well to those previously observed in the responses of single chorda tympani fibers to these amino acids in the 3 strains of mice. A hierarchical cluster analysis and a multidimensional scaling analysis showed that 15 compounds including the 4 basic taste stimuli (sucrose, NaCl, HCl and quinine-HCl) were classified into 7 different groups according to their behavioral similarities and some amino acids were not grouped with any of the 4 basic taste stimuli in the 3 strains of mice. These results suggest the possibility that mice perceive tastes of these amino acids in a way different from human taste primaries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Species Specificity
  • Taste / physiology*