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Dietary sodium deprivation reduces gustatory neural responses of the parabrachial nucleus in rats

Neuroscience Letters
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2007.10.034
  • Parabrachial Nucleus
  • Dietary Sodium Deprivation
  • Taste


Abstract Acute sodium depletion induced by furosemide reduces gustatory responses of parabrachial nucleus (PBN) neurons to 0.3–0.5 M NaCl in rats. However, in the rat nucleus of the solitary tract (NST), where taste-responsive cells project to the PBN, acute sodium depletion and dietary sodium deprivation elicit different response profiles to lingual NaCl stimulation. To examine the effect of dietary sodium deprivation on the responses of PBN gustatory neurons, we observed the taste responses of the PBN neurons to the four taste qualities and serial concentrations of NaCl in 15-day dietary sodium-deprived and control rats. The results showed that sodium deprivation reduced the responses of PBN taste neurons to 0.1–1.0 M NaCl, but not to other tastants. Based on the analyses classified by best-stimulus categories, the number of NaCl-best neurons decreased from 68% to 45% following dietary sodium deprivation, and the responses of the NaCl-best neurons to 0.03–1.0 M NaCl were significantly inhibited. Multidimensional scaling illustrated that sodium deprivation increased the similarity of the response profiles of the NaCl-best neurons. These findings suggest that dietary sodium deprivation might modulate sodium intake via increasing aversive threshold for salt rather enhancing salt discrimination.

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