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Preference for sucralose predicts behavioral responses to sweet and bittersweet tastants

Preference for sucralose predicts behavioral responses to sweet and bittersweet tastants

Chemical Senses 37(5): 445-453

Rats can be classified as either sucralose avoiders (SA) or sucralose preferrers (SP) based on their behavioral responses in 2-bottle preference, 1-bottle intake, and brief-access licking tests. The present study demonstrates that this robust phenotypic variation in the preference for sucralose predicts acceptance of saccharin, an artificial sweetener with a purported concentration-dependent "bitter" side taste and a 0.25 M sucrose solution adulterated with increasing concentrations of quinine hydrochloride (QHCl). Specifically, SA displayed decreased preference for and intakes of saccharin (≥41.5 mM) and sucrose-QHCl (>0.5 mM QHCl) solutions, relative to SP. In a second experiment involving brief-access (30-s) tests, SP and SA did not differ in their unconditioned licking responses across a range of sodium chloride or QHCl solutions (0.03-1 mM). However, the acceptability threshold for sucrose was lower in SA, relative to SP (0.06 and 0.13 M, respectively). Our findings suggest that phenotypic differences in sucralose preference are indicative of a more general difference in the hedonic processing of stimuli containing "bittersweet" or "sweet" taste qualities.

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Accession: 055116367

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PMID: 22281530

DOI: 10.1093/chemse/bjr126

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