Investigating the relationship between neural structures underlying taste neophobia, conditioned taste aversion, and anorexia
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Food aversion learning is thought to underlie restrictive eating behaviors seen in various eating disorders. Aversion learning paradigms such as taste neophobia and conditioned taste aversion serve to limit intake of food stimuli that may cause harm. Comparing neural structures involved in taste neophobia and conditioned taste aversion to structures involved in activity-based anorexia and anorexia nervosa may provide insight into structures that potentiate anorexic behaviors. Neural structures involved in taste neophobia include the basolateral amygdala and gustatory complex. Structures involved in conditioned taste aversion include the parabrachial nucleus, lateral hypothalamus, and amygdala. Additional structures such as the hippocampus, nucleus accumbens, and ventral tegmental area have been noted to be involved in reward processing in the activity based anorexia animal model. Structures involved in both gustatory aversion and reward and emotional processing have been cited to be involved in anorexia nervosa. Dysfunction of these structures may result from dysfunction of a single, central structure, the subcallosal cingulum.