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Wednesday 01 October 2003

Amiloride is an ineffective conditioned stimulus in taste aversion learning in C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice.

By: Eylam S, Tracy T, Garcea M, Spector AC.

Chem Senses 2003 Oct;28(8):681-9

The epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) blocker amiloride has been shown to increase the behaviorally measured NaCl detection threshold in mice. In this study, a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) paradigm was used to examine whether 100 microM amiloride has a perceptible taste that could contribute to this observed decrease in behavioral responsiveness. Eighty-four C57BL/6J (B6) and 64 DBA/2J (D2) mice were divided into eight groups (n=8-12 per group), in which half received an injection of 0.15 M LiCl (2 mEq/kg) and the other half an equivalent saline injection, in three conditioning trials. The four conditioned stimuli were 100 microM amiloride hydrochloride, water, 0.1 and 0.3 M NaCl. Neither strain demonstrated acquisition of a CTA to amiloride in a brief-access (BA) taste test (5 s trials in the gustometer). Although 0.3 M NaCl is inherently aversive, its pairing with LiCl led to significantly further decreases in licking during the BA test on salt trials in both strains. The D2 strain clearly avoided 0.1 M NaCl, whereas avoidance of this stimulus was more equivocal in B6 mice. The inefficacy of amiloride to serve as a conditioned stimulus in taste aversion learning involving three LiCl pairings suggests that the effects of this ENaC blocker on taste-related behavioral responses to NaCl are likely due to its pharmacological interference with sodium taste transduction.

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