The interactions among experience, emotion, and memory are considered to be instrumental in the ontogeny and maintenance of acquired emotional and behavioral disorders (e.g., phobias). Here we address the question whether an anxiety-like state can associate with taste to produce conditioned taste aversion (CTA).
We have used an anxiogenic agent, the 5-HT2C receptor agonist meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP), to induce an anxiety-like emotional state in rats after consumption of an unfamiliar tastant.
The anxiogenic agent induced CTA. The mCPP-induced CTA could be prevented by concomitant administration of ethanol, which is known to reverse mCPP-induced anxiety-like behavior, at a concentration that had no effect on CTA memory. In contrast, ethanol did not prevent LiCl-induced CTA. Administration of mCPP before the consumption of the tastant had no effect on the preference for that tastant.
Taken together, these results indicate that anxiety-like state can serve as the unconditioned stimulus in CTA training. This finding may be relevant to the ontogeny of pathologies involving food aversion.
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Accepted: August 16, 2004
Received in revised form: August 10, 2004
Received: April 17, 2004
© 2004 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.