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Relationship of area postrema to three putative measures of motion sicknessAlthough the rat has an incomplete emetic reflex, several species-specific responses to motion were proposed as measures of 'motion sickness' in rats. The purpose was to determine the dependence of these responses on one of several neural structures known to be essential to motion-induced vomiting in species with a complete emetic reflex. The Area Postrema (AP) was shown to play an important role in the production of motion sickness in vomiting species. The effects of thermo-cautery ablations of the AP on three different responses supposedly reflecting motion sickness in the rat were compared: conditioned taste aversion (CTA); drinking suppression; and fecal boli. Efficacy of the ablations was determined by subjecting ablated, sham-operated, and unoperated control animals to a CTA test which is known to require a functional AP. Animals with AP ablations failed to form CTA when 0.15 M LiCl was paired with a 10 percent sucrose solution, while sham-operated control subjects conditioned as well as the unoperated control subjects. The extent of the ablations was evaluated histologically at the end of the experiment. To determine the effects of the ablations on the measures of motion sickness, all animals were subjected to rotation for 30 min or 90 min on a platform displaced 20 deg from earth horizontal. Results indicate that ablation of AP in the rat has no effect on the formation of CTA to a 4 percent solution of cider paired with motion, on the suppression of drinking immediately after exposure to motion, or on the frequency of fecal boli during exposure to motion. This failure of AP ablations to eliminate the effects of motion on any of these responses discourages their use as equivalents of motion-induced vomiting. The appropriateness of other suggested measures, e.g., pica, remains untested but the dependence of such measures on stimulation more severe than commonly used in motion sickness research and the absence of a demonstration of their dependence on neural structures essential to motion sickness in vomiting species, suggest caution in the use of such responses. Further, until more is known about the neural structures underlying these putative measures, the rat will remain a questionable subject in which to study motion sickness.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Sutton, R.
(San Jose State Univ. CA., United States)
Fox, Robert A.
(San Jose State Univ. CA., United States)
Daunton, Nancy G.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: Self-Motion Perception and Motion Sickness
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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