The effects of castration and hormone substitution on conditioned taste aversion behavior were investigated in male rats. Conditioning involved the pairing of a novel solution (sucrose) with toxicity induced by LiCl. When given the choice between either water or sucrose 2 days later, all animals which has previously experienced the sucrose-plus LiCl condition showed an initial aversion to the sucrose solution while consumption of water was not affected. During the subsequent days of extinction differences in hormone-treatment groups did emerge. Within 15 days virtually all of the castrated control animals had a greater than 50% preference for sucrose while sham-operated animals still maintained their initial aversion to the solution. Treatment with testosterone or dihydrotestosterone was effective in maintaining a conditioned response to sucrose that was compatible with sham animals. 19-hydroxytestosterone, an estrogen precursor, was ineffective in altering the castration effect. The androgenic properties of this behavior were further clarified when cyproterone acetate was found to block the effects of testosterone on this behavior. The results implicate the involvement of androgens in the extinction of a conditioned taste aversion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Behavioral Neuroscience