Salt appetite is reduced by a single experience of drinking hypertonic saline in the adult rat

Michael P Greenwood, Mingkwan Greenwood, Julian F R Paton, David Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Salt appetite, the primordial instinct to favorably ingest salty substances, represents a vital evolutionary important drive to successfully maintain body fluid and electrolyte homeostasis. This innate instinct was shown here in Sprague-Dawley rats by increased ingestion of isotonic saline (IS) over water in fluid intake tests. However, this appetitive stimulus was fundamentally transformed into a powerfully aversive one by increasing the salt content of drinking fluid from IS to hypertonic saline (2% w/v NaCl, HS) in intake tests. Rats ingested HS similar to IS when given no choice in one-bottle tests and previous studies have indicated that this may modify salt appetite. We thus investigated if a single 24 h experience of ingesting IS or HS, dehydration (DH) or 4% high salt food (HSD) altered salt preference. Here we show that 24 h of ingesting IS and HS solutions, but not DH or HSD, robustly transformed salt appetite in rats when tested 7 days and 35 days later. Using two-bottle tests rats previously exposed to IS preferred neither IS or water, whereas rats exposed to HS showed aversion to IS. Responses to sweet solutions (1% sucrose) were not different in two-bottle tests with water, suggesting that salt was the primary aversive taste pathway recruited in this model. Inducing thirst by subcutaneous administration of angiotensin II did not overcome this salt aversion. We hypothesised that this behavior results from altered gene expression in brain structures important in thirst and salt appetite. Thus we also report here lasting changes in mRNAs for markers of neuronal activity, peptide hormones and neuronal plasticity in supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus following rehydration after both DH and HS. These results indicate that a single experience of drinking HS is a memorable one, with long-term changes in gene expression accompanying this aversion to salty solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e104802
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2014

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