Differential Effects of Postingestive Feedback on the Reward Value of Sucrose and Lateral Hypothalamic Stimulation in Rats

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The effects of postingestive feedback on the value of intraoral sucrose and lateral hypothalamic (LH) stimulation were compared. Rats chose between a fixed LH stimulation train or a compound reward composed of the same stimulation train and an oral infusion of 1 M sucrose. The rats preferred the compound reward when postingestive feedback was reduced by opening a gastric cannula. However, when the cannula was closed, the compound was preferred only at the beginning of each session, and preference declined or reversed as consumption continued. A second experiment showed that the reduction in preference caused by closing the gastric cannula was not due to a punishing effect of the gastrointestinal load. This study suggests that postingestive signals modulate gustatory reward at a stage of processing before gustatory and brain stimulation rewards are combined.

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