Citric acid and quinine share perceived chemosensory features making oral discrimination difficult in C57BL/6J mice

Yada Treesukosol, Clare M. Mathes, Alan C. Spector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Evidence in the literature shows that in rodents, some taste-responsive neurons respond to both quinine and acid stimuli. Also, under certain circumstances, rodents display some degree of difficulty in discriminating quinine and acid stimuli. Here, C57BL/6J mice were trained and tested in a 2-response operant discrimination task. Mice had severe difficulty discriminating citric acid from quinine and 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) with performance slightly, but significantly, above chance. In contrast, mice were able to competently discriminate sucrose from citric acid, NaCl, quinine, and PROP. In another experiment, mice that were conditioned to avoid quinine by pairings with LiCl injections subsequently suppressed licking responses to quinine and citric acid but not to NaCl or sucrose in a brief-access test, relative to NaCl-injected control animals. However, mice that were conditioned to avoid citric acid did not display cross-generalization to quinine. These mice significantly suppressed licking only to citric acid, and to a much lesser extent NaCl, compared with controls. Collectively, the findings from these experiments suggest that in mice, citric acid and quinine share chemosensory features making discrimination difficult but are not perceptually identical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-489
Number of pages13
JournalChemical Senses
Volume36
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 30 2011

Keywords

  • Bitter
  • Mice
  • Psychophysics
  • Sour
  • T2R
  • Taste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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