Free radicals and taste aversion learning in the rat: nitric oxide, radiation and dopamine

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 1996 May;20(4):691-707. doi: 10.1016/0278-5846(96)00041-3.


1. Injection of sodium nitroprusside (SNP) or N-tert-butyl-alpha-phenyl nitrone (PBN) produces a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) in rats. The CTA can be prevented by pretreatment with N omega-nitro-L-arginine (L-NArg), indicating that nitric oxide (NO) is a behaviorally toxic compound. 2. Radiation-induced CTA learning is not affect by pretreatment with L-NArg or by preexposure to PBN, indicating that a radiation-stimulated formation of NO does not mediate the toxic effects of radiation on behavior. 4. Pretreating rats with the dopamine antagonist haloperidol prevented the acquisition of the CTA produced by SNP and attenuated, but did not eliminate, the PBN-induced CTA. Preexposure to the dopamine agonist amphetamine, attenuated a PBN-induced CTA, although PBN preexposure did not affect an amphetamine-induced CTA. 5. The results are interpreted as supporting a role for NO-stimulated dopamine release in the acquisition of taste aversions following injection of SNP or PBN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology*
  • Avoidance Learning / radiation effects
  • Brain Chemistry / drug effects
  • Cyclic N-Oxides
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Dopamine Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Haloperidol / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitroarginine / pharmacology
  • Nitrogen Oxides / pharmacology
  • Nitroprusside / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste / radiation effects


  • Cyclic N-Oxides
  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Free Radicals
  • Nitrogen Oxides
  • Nitroprusside
  • Nitroarginine
  • Nitric Oxide
  • phenyl-N-tert-butylnitrone
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Haloperidol
  • Dopamine