The role of the insular cortex in taste function

Jimmy Stehberg, Rodrigo Moraga-Amaro, Felipe Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


In spite of over 30. years of research, the role of the Insular Cortex (IC) in taste memory still remains elusive. To study the role of the IC in taste memory, we used conditioned taste aversion (CTA) for two different concentrations of saccharin; 0.1% which is highly preferred, and 0.5% which is non-preferred. Rats that had been IC lesioned bilaterally with ibotenic acid (15. mg/ml) before CTA showed significant learning impairments for saccharin 0.1% but not for saccharin 0.5%. To test CTA memory retention, rats lesioned a week after CTA training became completely amnesic for saccharin 0.1% yet only mildly impaired for saccharin 0.5%. Interestingly, the resulting preference for either concentration matched that of IC lesioned animals when exposed to either saccharin solution for the first time, but not those of sham animals, implying that IC lesions after CTA for either saccharin solution rendered complete amnesia, irrespective of the original preference. Our data indicate that an intact IC is essential for CTA learning and retention, as well as for an early neophobic response, but not for taste preference itself. Our data supports a model where the IC is involved in general taste rejection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-135
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


  • Amnesia
  • CTA
  • CTA retention
  • Conditioned taste aversion
  • Insular cortex
  • Lesion
  • Neophobia
  • Original taste preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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