Role of the medial and lateral parabrachial nucleus in acquisition and retention of conditioned taste aversion in rats

Behav Brain Res. 1998 Jun;93(1-2):63-70. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(97)00133-2.


When ingestion of a taste stimulus is paired with internal malaise, the animal remembers the taste and rejects its ingestion thereafter. This learning is referred to as conditioned taste aversion (CTA). To establish CTA in adult male Wistar rats, 0.1% saccharin and an i.p. injection of 0.15 M LiCl were used as the conditioned and unconditioned stimuli, respectively. To elucidate the functional role of the medial part of the parabrachial nucleus (PBmed) which receives taste information and the lateral part (PBlat) which receives general visceral information, confined electrolytic lesions were made to either of these regions. Rats with bilateral lesions of the PBlat impaired the acquisition of CTA, but those lesions made after the acquisition of CTA had no effect on the retention of this learning. The bilateral lesions of the PBmed abolished the acquisition and retention of CTA. The PBlat-lesioned rats showed normal taste preference behavior, but PBmed-lesioned rats showed impaired sensibility to taste stimuli. These results suggest that both the PBlat and PBmed are essential for the acquisition of taste aversion learning, but the PBlat is not necessary for retrieval of CTA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Pons / anatomy & histology
  • Pons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Taste / physiology*