Effects of conditioned taste aversion on extracellular serotonin in the lateral hypothalamus and hippocampus of freely moving rats

Howard L. West, Gregory Mark, Bartley G. Hoebel

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This study used microdialysis to monitor extracellular levels of 5-HT and its metabolite, 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA) in the lateral hypothalamus (LH) and hippocampus of freely moving rats that had developed a CTA to a 2.5 mM saccharin solution (CS) following its pairing with illness induced by lithium chloride (US). Results showed that oral infusion of the saccharin CS significantly enhanced extracellular LH 5-HT in animals that had developed a taste aversion compared with control groups, including unconditioned (CS-no US) and pseudoconditioned (no CS-US) subjects. As an anatomical control, the hippocampus was identified based on previous research suggesting that it is not integrally involved in CTA learning or retrieval and that 5-HT in this brain site does not directly mediate feeding behavior but is closely correlated with arousal. In contrast with the results obtained in the LH, hippocampal 5-HT was not preferentially elevated in subjects in the CTA group but rather was increased to the same extend in both CTA and control groups after saccharin infusion. Moreover, the increase in LH 5-HT for the CTA group was nearly twice that observed in the hippocampus for any group. Acute administration of LiCl elevated extracellular 5-HT to similar levels in both sites, well above the changes observed following conditioning. 5-HIAA was unaffected in either brain site by oral infusion of saccharin solution or injection of LiCl. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that increased 5-HT transmission in the LH plays a central role in the inhibition of ingestion during expression of a CTA that may not be entirely attributable to a global activation of the serotonergic system in arousal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 9 1991
Externally publishedYes



  • Conditioned taste aversion
  • Hippocampus
  • Lateral hypothalamus
  • Microdialysis
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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