Fat Reduces Conditioned Flavor Preferences in HiS vs. LoS Rats
Investigation of ethanol as a nutritive reinforcer may help explain certain drinking and eating disorders often seen in women. Some individuals have genetic or personality characteristics that make alcohol a more powerful reinforcer, placing them at higher risk for developing alcohol problems. Rats serve as a model system for understanding how nutritional status influences the reinforcing value of alcohol. Dietary fat is of special interest here. Occidental HiS and LoS rats are selectively bred bidirectionally for high versus low consumption of saccharin. HiS rats have a higher affinity to sweets, alcohol, and flavors paired with alcohol compared to LoS rats. The study examines the impact of high dietary fat during refeeding on preference for an alcohol-paired flavor in HiS and LoS rats. A high-fat diet reduced the preference for an ethanol-paired flavor in LoS rats but not in HiS rats or rats receiving a control diet. That flavor preference varies as a function of diet validates consideration of ethanol as a nutritive reinforcer.
Nguyen, Phuong, "Fat Reduces Conditioned Flavor Preferences in HiS vs. LoS Rats" (2009). URC Student Scholarship.
Clinton Chapman and Nancy Dess
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education Grant