Author(s): Hunt T, Amit Z
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Abstract In this paper we have reviewed the literature on Conditioned Taste Aversion (CTA) with specific attention to the "apparent paradox" in this literature. This paradox refers to the fact that drugs which are self-administered (SA) by animals and are therefore presumed to possess positive reinforcing properties are also endowed with the capacity to induce a CTA. We have argued that the CTA literature contains evidence of the existence of two qualitatively distinct types of CTA, one which is mediated by emetic agents and the other induced by SA drugs. We first provided evidence to support the notion that the traditional explanation of CTA as a function of "drug toxicity" and its resultant gastrointestinal distress does not fit the data on the nature of CTA induced by SA drugs. We proposed instead that "drug shyness" or the novelty of the drug state of these psychoactive SA drugs constitutes a better explanation of the CTA of SA drugs. We provided further evidence suggesting a functional relationship between the positive reinforcing and aversive properties of SA drugs. We have based this contention on a review of the behavioral, physiological and neurochemical data concerning the nature of CTA of SA drugs. The examination of these data reveals that the neural mechanisms underlying both the positive and aversive properties of SA drugs are the same and at the same time different from the neural mechanisms underlying the induction of CTA by emetic agents. Finally, we discussed the relevance of this interaction between the positive and aversive properties of SA drugs in the context of their abuse liability and the control they exert on drug-oriented behavior.
This article was published in Neurosci Biobehav Rev
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access