The Anxiety Of Lithium Chloride Causes Mild Illness
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Animals can be conditioned to display or not display a variety of behaviors and emotions, including taste preference. This form of conditioning has even been successfully done in humans by using rotation-induced motion sickness after consuming either a familiar or unfamiliar flavored beverage to create a distaste for the beverage (especially the unfamiliar flavored one) (Arwas, Rolnick, & Lubow, 1989).
A very common way to teach rats to dislike a certain taste is to give them injection(s) of lithium chloride (LiCl) directly after consuming a taste stimulus. The lithium chloride causes mild illness, which the rats connect to the taste stimulus, essentially because they believe the food/drink they consumed caused the…show more content… For best results, LiCl should be measured as an absolute quantity, not as a volume or concentration (Nachman & Ashe 1973). These studies (among others) show that LiCl is an effective unconditioned stimulus for taste aversion when administered in correct dosages.
Though many studies have observed the effects of taste aversion, fewer studies have focused on the influence of feeding on this conditioned aversion. In essence, conditioning is a form of learning, and learning requires memory. One study used the pond snail Lymnaea to show that food deprivation lowers blood-glucose levels and levels of insulin circulating; therefore, it decreases the animal’s ability to remember the pairing of taste stimulus and the noxious stimulus (Mita & Koichi 2014).
This study manipulates the preference for sucrose by administering lithium chloride (LiCl) to the rats after consumption of sucrose. The researchers sought to determine whether rats given access to free feeding would display more or less taste aversion than rats who were deprived of food after the LiCl injection.
Methods & Materials
This study used eight adult male Long-Evans rats of average size. Rats were housed separately, each in his own cage on a nocturnal light-dark cycle (lights off at 7:00 AM, lights on at 7:00 PM). Each rat was given 1 hour of