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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: POISONING OF LIVESTOCK BY VARIOUS LARKSPUR SPECIES (DELPHINIUM)

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: Conditioned flavor aversion and location avoidance in hamsters from toxic extract of tall larkspur (Delphinium barbeyi)

Authors
item PFISTER, JAMES
item Cheney, C -
item GARDNER, DALE
item PANTER, KIP

Submitted to: Poisoning by Plants, Mycotoxins, and Related Toxins
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 11, 2010
Publication Date: May 1, 2011
Citation: Pfister, J.A., Cheney, C.D., Gardner, D.R., Panter, K.E. 2011. Conditioned flavor aversion and location avoidance in hamsters from toxic extract of tall larkspur (Delphinium barbeyi). In: Riet-Correa, F., Pfister, J., Schild, A.L., Wierenga, T., editors. Poisoning by Plants, Mycotoxins, and Related Toxins. Cambridge, MA. CAB International. 109:637-42.

Interpretive Summary: Studies were conducted to address conditioned flavour aversion and place avoidance learning in hamsters given injections of alkaloid extracts from tall larkspur, to determine if larkspur had reinforcing or negative properties sufficient to cause place avoidance or preference and to evaluate if hamsters could acquire conditioned flavour aversion from larkspur alkaloid extract.Results showed that the alkaloid extract from tall larkspur conditioned both taste aversions and location avoidance.

Technical Abstract: Studies were conducted to address conditioned flavour aversion (CFA) and place avoidance learning in hamsters given injections of alkaloid extracts from tall larkspur (Delphinium barbeyi), to determine if larkspur had reinforcing or negative properties sufficient to cause place avoidance or preference and to evaluate if hamsters could acquire CFAs from larkspur alkaloid extract. A total of 24 female Syrian golden hamsters were used for the place avoidance/taste aversion experiment. Thirty other hamsters were used in a preliminary experiment to determine the median lethal dose (LD50) of the larkspur extract. Results showed that the alkaloid extract from tall larkspur conditioned both taste aversions and location avoidance. Diterpenoid alkaloids in tall larkspur had negative effects on exteroceptive reinforcers associated with location cues, while simultaneously negatively affecting interoceptive reinforcers associated with flavour cues. The dose given to the hamsters in this study did not show overt symptoms of alkaloid intoxication.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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