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Effects of extensive amygdaloid lesions on conditioned taste aversion in rats

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The role of the amygdala in the acquisition of conditioned taste aversion (CTA) is unclear. The lesion studies that have explored specific nuclei of the amygdala point to a probable involvement of the basolateral amygdala, but it remains unclear whether the function of the amygdala in CTA is limited to the activity of the basolateral amygdala. In the current study, extensive bilateral lesions of the amygdala were performed in Wistar rats to explore if the destruction of the amygdala affects the acquisition of CTA, as has been reported with selective lesions of the basolateral amygdala. The magnitude of the taste aversion of animals with extensive lesions of the amygdala was compared with those of animals with similar lesions of the striatum (a structure apparently unrelated to CTA) and animals without lesions. Taste aversion was analyzed by the one‑bottle test and two‑bottle choice test. The results of the one‑bottle test indicated that amygdaloid lesions significantly reduced the magnitude of taste aversion compared with that of animals without lesions. Animals with lesions of the amygdala also showed a greater preference for the conditioned taste stimulus, but this preference did not reach statistical significance. Besides the effect on CTA, animals with amygdaloid lesions showed no evidence of taste neophobia on the day of conditioning. These findings suggest that amygdaloid lesions may affect CTA by disrupting the perception of novelty during conditioning in a manner similar to the effect reported with basolateral lesions.
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  • Department of Psychobiology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
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