Possible routes of visceral information in the rat brain in formation of conditioned taste aversion

Nobuyuki Sakai, Takashi Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


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. Neuroanatomical study using the tracer method was performed to examine the ascending routes from the lateral part of the parabrachial nucleus (PBlat) which receives general visceral information and suggested the three possible routes to the amygdala: (1) direct route to the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA); (2) diencephalic route to the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) involving the zona incerta (ZI) and the midline and intralaminar thalamic complex (MITC); and (3) cortical route to the BLA involving insular cortex (IC). Rats with excitotoxic lesions of each of the CeA, ZI, MITC or IC had only a small or negligible effect on the acquisition of CTA. However, single lesions of the BLA and combined lesions of the ZI and IC, but not CeA and IC, almost completely abolished the acquisition of CTA. These results together with previous findings suggest that visceral (or unconditioned stimulus) information in the PBlat is sent to the BLA which is essential for the acquisition of CTA via the functionally important two parallel routes, the diencephalic and cortical routes, with either being able to create the aversion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalNeuroscience Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Oct
Externally publishedYes


  • Amygdala
  • Conditioned taste aversion
  • Insular cortex
  • Parabrachial nucleus
  • Rat
  • Zona incerta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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