To investigate the appetite for vitamin C (VC), we conducted behavioral and neural experiments using osteogenic disorder Shionogi/Shi Jcl-od/od (od/od) rats, which lack the ability to synthesize VC, and their wild-type controls osteogenic disorder Shionogi/Shi Jcl- +/+ (+/+) rats. In the behavioral study, rats were deprived of VC for 25 days and then received two-bottle preference tests with a choice between water and 10 mM VC. The preference for 10 mM VC solution of od/od rats was significantly greater than that of +/+ rats. In the neural study, the relative magnitudes of the whole chorda tympani nerve (CTN) responses to 100–1000 mM VC, 3–10 mM HCl, 100–1000 mM NaCl, and 20 mM quinine▪HCl in the VC-deficient rats were significantly smaller than those in the nondeficient ones. Further, we conducted additional behavioral experiments to investigate the appetite for sour and salty taste solutions of VC-deficient od/od rats. Preference scores for 3 mM citric acid increased in od/od rats after VC removal, compared with before, whereas preference scores for 100 and 150 mM NaCl were decreased in VC-deficient od/od rats. The preference for 300 mM NaCl was not changed. Hence, our results suggest that the reduction of the aversive taste of VC during VC deficiency may have involved the reduction of CTN responses to acids. Overall, our results indicate that VC-deficient rats ingest sufficient VC to relieve their deficiency and that VC deficiency causes changes in peripheral sensitivity to acids, but nongustatory factors may also affect VC intake and choice.

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