Lactose malabsorption and taste aversion learning

2018-06-29T00:00:00Z (GMT) by J Arthurs JY Lin R Ocampo S Reilly
Consumption of foods can be suppressed by two feeding system defense mechanisms: conditioned taste aversion (CTA) or taste avoidance learning (TAL). There is a debate in the literature about which form of intake suppression is caused by various aversive stimuli. For instance, illness-inducing stimuli like lithium chloride are the gold standard for producing CTA and external (or peripheral) painful stimuli, such as footshock, are the traditional model of TAL. The distinction between CTA and TAL, which have identical effects on intake, is based on differential effects on palatability. That is, CTA involves a decrease in both intake and palatability, whereas TAL suppresses intake without influencing palatability. We evaluated whether lactose, which causes gastrointestinal pain in adult rats, produces CTA or TAL. Using lick pattern analysis to simultaneously measure intake and palatability (i.e., lick cluster size and initial lick rate), we found that pairing saccharin with intragastric infusions of lactose suppressed both the intake and palatability of saccharin. These results support the conclusion that gastrointestinal pain produced by lactose malabsorption produces a CTA, not TAL as had previously been suggested. Furthermore, these findings encourage the view that the CTA mechanism is broadly tuned to defend against the ingestion of foods with aversive post-ingestive effects.