Sucrose intensity coding and decision-making in rat gustatory cortices.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Sucrose's sweet intensity is one attribute contributing to the overconsumption of high-energy palatable foods. However, it is not known how sucrose intensity is encoded and used to make perceptual decisions by neurons in taste-sensitive cortices. We trained rats in a sucrose intensity discrimination task and found that sucrose evoked a widespread response in neurons recorded in posterior-Insula (pIC), anterior-Insula (aIC), and Orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Remarkably, only a few Intensity-selective neurons conveyed the most information about sucrose's intensity, indicating that for sweetness the gustatory system uses a compact and distributed code. Sucrose intensity was encoded in both firing-rates and spike-timing. The pIC, aIC, and OFC neurons tracked movement direction, with OFC neurons yielding the most robust response. aIC and OFC neurons encoded the subject's choices, whereas all three regions tracked reward omission. Overall, these multimodal areas provide a neural representation of perceived sucrose intensity, and of task-related information underlying perceptual decision-making.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fonseca, E; de Lafuente, V; Simon, SA; Gutierrez, R

Published Date

  • November 19, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 /

PubMed ID

  • 30451686

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6292697

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2050-084X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.7554/eLife.41152


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England