Sense of taste in a New World monkey, the common marmoset. II. Link between behavior and nerve activity

Vicktoria Danilova, Göran Hellekant

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22 Scopus citations


In a previous study, we characterized the gustatory system of a New World monkey the common marmoset, Callithrix jacchus jacchus, with electrophysiological techniques by recording from taste fibers of the chorda tympani proper (CT) and glossopharyngeal (NG) nerves. Hierarchical cluster analysis identified three clusters of taste fibers: S fibers, responding predominantly to sweeteners, Q fibers, responding predominantly to bitter stimuli, and H fibers, responding predominantly to acids. In this study, we employed two behavioral techniques, the two-bottle preference (TBP) and conditioned taste aversion (CTA), to study the taste of the compounds used in the previous electrophysiological study. The results showed that compounds that did not stimulate any taste fibers were neither preferred nor rejected. Compounds that activated only S fibers were always preferred over water. When aversion to sucrose was created by the CTA method, these compounds were rejected. Compounds that activated Q fibers were rejected and consumed less than water. We studied the relationship between intake and net response from S and Q fibers in the CT and NG nerves. Intake was measured as a preference ratio in TBP test. The net response was defined as: (SCT + SNG) - (QCT + QNG), where SCT + SNG denotes the sum of the responses in S fibers of the CT and NG nerves. Similarly, Q CT + QNG represents the sum of the responses in Q fibers of the CT and NG nerves. The relationship between intake and the Net response was linear with a Pearson correlation coefficient 0.85. This study supports our hypothesis that intake is influenced by S and Q fibers, where S fibers serve as a hedonically positive input and Q fibers as a hedonically negative input.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1067-1076
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2004


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