Affordable Access

Running-based pica in rats. Evidence for the gastrointestinal discomfort hypothesis of running-based taste aversion

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.08.031
  • Conditioned Taste Aversion
  • Wheel Running
  • Pica
  • Kaolin
  • Lithium Chloride
  • Rats


Abstract Voluntary running in an activity wheel establishes aversion to paired taste in rats. A proposed mechanism underlying this taste aversion learning is gastrointestinal discomfort caused by running. We tested this hypothesis by measuring the pica behavior (kaolin clay intake) of rats, because it is known that rats engage in pica behavior after various nausea-inducing treatments including irradiation, motion sickness, and injection of emetic drugs such as lithium chloride (LiCl). Following a demonstration of the already-known phenomenon of LiCl-based pica in Experiment 1, we successfully showed running-based pica behavior in Experiment 2 where the running treatment was compared with a non-running control treatment (i.e., confinement in a locked wheel). These results suggest that not only LiCl but also running induces nausea in rats, supporting the gastrointestinal discomfort hypothesis of running-based taste aversion learning.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.