SUCROSE AND WATER CONSUMPTION BY RATS EXPOSED TO GAMMA-NEUTRON RADIATION
ARMED FORCES RADIOBIOLOGY RESEARCH INST BETHESDA MD
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This study examined the possible use of sucrose and water as reinforcers in behavioral studies of rats, after low dose gamma-neutron irradiation. Twenty-four rats were offered a choice of a 10 percent sucrose solution of distilled water ad libitum. Another 24 rats received only distilled water. Of the 24 rats in each of the above groups, three subgroups of six rats each received 120, 260 or 520 rads of mixed gamma-neutron radiation. The fourth subgroup of six rats was sham irradiated. Two days after irradiation, the subgroups that had been offered sucrose and water developed a significant aversion to the sucrose solution, and simultaneously increased their consumption of water. The subgroups receiving only distilled water decreased their consumption by the second day postirradiation. The most significant decrease in water consumption was observed in the rats receiving water only and 520 rads of radiation. The results suggest that the changes in consumption of sucrose and water caused by irradiation eliminate their use as reinforcers in behavioral experiments with radiation.