Sodium taste during sodium appetite

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Sodium appetite appears to be an excellent model to study the neural mechanisms of motivation. In this issue of Chemical Senses, experiments by St John (2016) challenge 2 hypotheses for how a systemic sodium deficit guides an animal to find and ingest more Na+ ions in the environment. Both hypotheses deal with modifications of the sensory neural code produced by Na++ ions on the tongue. One envisions a change in the Na++ signal amplitude. A reduction could make the strong Na++ signals less aversive; an increase, weak signals more noticeable. The other hypothesis requires no changes in the identity or amplitude of the Na++ signal, but a shift in its hedonic tone toward sweetness or reward. The results of the 3 behavioral experiments render both explanations unlikely but fail to suggest alternatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberbjw112
Pages (from-to)91-92
Number of pages2
JournalChemical senses
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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