Sweetness pp 115-126 | Cite as

Opioids, Sweets and a Mechanism for Positive Affect: Broad Motivational Implications

  • Elliott M. Blass
Part of the ILSI Human Nutrition Reviews book series (ILSI HUMAN)


Responsiveness to sugars and sweetness is phylogenetically ancient, being manifest as Chemotaxis even in motile bacteria such as E.coli (see Adler 1971 for review). Electrophysiological and behavioral characteristics of sugar receptors and feeding have been identified and analyzed in certain invertebrates, most notably the blowfly (see Dethier 1978 for review), and taste receptors and electrophysiological responsiveness to sugar solutions have been identified in frogs and fishes (Bardach and Atema 1971; Sato 1969; Sato et al. 1969).


Positive Affect Anorexia Nervosa Sweet Taste Opioid Antagonist Saccharin Solution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adler J (1971) The sensing of chemicals by bacteria. Sci Am 234: 47–76Google Scholar
  2. Amir S, Brown ZW, Amit Z (1979) The role of endorphins in stress: evidence and speculations. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 4: 77–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bardach JE, Atema J (1971) The sense of taste in fishes. Handbook of Sensory Physiology 4: 293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beauchamp GK, Moran M (1982) Dietary experience and sweet taste preference in human infants. Appetite: J Intake Res 3: 139–152Google Scholar
  5. Belluzzi JD, Grant N, Garsky V, Sarantakis D, Wise CD, Stein L (1976) Analgesia induced in vivo by central administration of enkephalin in rat. Nature 260: 625–626PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berridge KC, Fentress JC (1985) Trigeminal-taste interaction in palatability processing. Science 228: 747–750PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bertier MC, Sy TM, Baigts F, Mandenoff A, Apfelbaum M (1984) Stress and sucrose hyperphagia: role of endogenous opiates. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 20: 675–679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blass EM, Jobaris R, Hall WG (1976) Oropharyngeal controls of drinking in rats. J Physiol Psychol 90: 909–916CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blass EM, Ganchrow JR, Steiner JE (1984) Classical conditioning in newborn humans 2–48 hours of age. Infant Behav Dev 7: 223–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Broekkamp CL, van den Bogaard J, Heijnen HJ, Rops RH, Cools AR, van Rossum JM (1976) Separation of inhibiting and stimulating effects of morphine on self-stimulation behaviour by intracerebral microinjections. Eur J Pharmacol 36: 443–446PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chance WT (1980) Autoanalgesia: opiate and non-opiate mechanisms. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 4: 55–67PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crook CK (1978) Taste perception in the newborn infant. Infant Behav Dev 1: 52–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Desor JA, Maller O, Turner RE (1973) Taste in acceptance of sugars by human infants. J Comp Physiol Psychol 84: 496–501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dethier VG (1978) Other tastes, other worlds. Science 201: 224–228PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fanselow MS (1985) Odors released by stressed rats produce opioid analgesia in unstressed rats. Behav Neurosci 99: 589–592PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fantino M, Hosotte J, Apfelbaum M (to be published) An opioid antagonist, naltrexone, reduces the preference for sucrose in man. Am J PhysiolGoogle Scholar
  17. Ganchrow J, Lieblich I, Cohen E (1981) Consummatory responses to taste stimuli in rats selected for high and low rates of self-stimulation. Physiol Behav 27: 971PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goldstein A, Pryor GT, Otis LS, Larsen F (1976) On the role of endogenous opioid peptides: failure of naloxone to influence shock escape threshold in the rat. Life Sci 18: 599–604PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guttman N (1953) Operant conditioning, extinction, and periodic reinforcement in relation to concentration of sucrose used as reinforcing agent. J Exp Psychol 46: 213–224PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hall WG (1985) What we know and don’t know about the development of independent ingestion in rats. Appetite 6: 333–356PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Hall WG, Bryan TE (1980) The ontogeny of feeding in rats. II. Independent ingestive behavior. J Comp Physiol Psychol 94: 746–756CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hofer MA, Shair H (1978) Ultrasonic vocalization during social interaction and isolation in 2-week-old rats. Dev Psychobiol 11: 495–504PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kehoe P, Blass EM (to be published, a) Behaviorally functional opioid systems in infant rats: I. Evidence for olfactory and gustatory classical conditioning. Behav NeurosciGoogle Scholar
  24. Kehoe P, Blass EM (to be published, b) Behaviorally functional opioid systems in infant rats: II. Evidence for pharmacological, physiological and psychological mediation of pain and stress. Behav NeurosciGoogle Scholar
  25. Le Magnen J, Marfaing-Jallat P, Miceli D, Devos M (1980) Pain modulating and reward systems: a single brain mechanism? Pharmacol Biochem Behav 12: 729–733PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lester LS, Fanselow MS (1985) Exposure to a cat produces opioid analgesia in rats. Behav Neurosci 99: 756–759PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lieblich I, Cohen E, Beiles A (1978) Selection for high and for low rates of self-stimulation in rats. Physiol Behav 21: 843PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lieblich I, Cohen E, Ganchrow JR, Blass EM, Bergmann F (1983) Morphine tolerance in genetically selected rats induced by chronically elevated saccharine intake. Science 221: 871–873PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McCleary RA (1953) Taste and postingestion factors in specific-hunger behavior. J Comp Physiol Psychol 46: 411–421PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mistretta CM, Bradley RM (1986) Development of the sense of taste. In: Blass EM (ed) Handbook of behavioral neurobiology 8. Plenum, New York, pp 205–236Google Scholar
  31. Mook DG (1963) Oral and postingestional determinants of the intake of various solutions in rats with esophageal fistulas. J Comp Physiol Psychol 56: 645–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Morley JE, Levine AS, Yim GKW, Lowy MT (1983) Opiate modulation of appetite. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 7: 281–305PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Noirot E (1972) Ultrasounds and maternal behaviour in small rodents. Dev Psychobiol 5: 371–387PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. North MA (1978) Naloxone reversal of morphine analgesia but failure to alter reactivity to pain in the formalin test. Life Sci 22: 295–302PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ostrowski NL, Foley TL, Lind MD, Reid LD (1980) Naloxone reduces fluid intake: effects of water and food deprivation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 12: 431–435PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pfaffmann C (1961) Sensory and motivating properties of the sense of taste. In: Jones MR (ed) Nebraska symposium on motivation. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, pp 71–108Google Scholar
  37. Pfaffmann C, Norgren R, Grill HJ (1977) Sensory affect and nutrition. Ann NY Acad Sci 18–33Google Scholar
  38. Reid LD (1985) Endogenous opioid peptides and regulation of drinking and feeding. Am J Clin Nutr 42: 1099–1132PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Sato T (1969) The response of frog taste cells. Experientia 25: 709–710PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sato M, Yamashita S, Ogawa H (1969) Afferent specificity in taste. In: Pfaffman C (ed) Olfaction and taste III. Rockefeller Press, New York, pp 470–487Google Scholar
  41. Schwartz GJ, Grill HJ (1984) Relationships between taste reactivity and intake in the neurologically intact rat. Chem Senses 9: 249–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schwartz GJ, Grill HJ (1985) Comparing taste-elicited behaviors in adult and neonatal rats. Appetite 6: 373–386PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Scott TR, Perrotto RS (1980) Intensity coding in pontine taste area: gustatory information is processed similarly throughout rat’s brain stem. J Neurophysiol 44: 739–750PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Sheffield FD, Roby TB (1950) Reward value of a non-nutritive sweet taste. J Comp Physiol Psychol 43: 471–481PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shuford EH Jr (1959) Palatability and osmotic pressure of glucose and sucrose solutions as determinants of intake. J Comp Physiol Psychol 52: 150–153PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Siviy SM, Reid LD (1983) Endorphinergic modulation of acceptability of putative reinforcers. Appetite 4: 249–257PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Siviy SM, Calcagnetti DJ, Reid LD (1982) Opioids and palatability. In: Hoebel BG, Novin D (eds) The neural basis of feeding and reward. Haer Institute for Electrophysiological Research, Maine, pp 517–524Google Scholar
  48. Steiner JE (1974) Innate discriminative human facial expressions to taste and smell stimulation (discussion paper). Ann NY Acad Sci 237: 229–233PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Steiner JE (1977) Facial expressions of the neonate infant indicating the hedonics of food-related chemical stimuli. In: Weiffenbach JM (ed) Taste and development: the genesis of sweet preference. U.S. Department of Health, Education, & Welfare, Washington DC, pp 173–189Google Scholar
  50. Steiner JE (1979) Human facial expression in response to taste and smell stimulation. Adv Child Dev 13: 257–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. van der Kooy D, LePiane FG, Phillips AG (1977) Apparent independence of opiate reinforcement and electrical self-stimulation systems in rat brain. Life Sci 20: 981–986PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yim GKW, Lowy MT (1984) Opioids, feeding, and anorexias. Fed Proc 43: 2893–2897PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Young PT (1957) Psychological factors regulating the feeding process. Am J Clin Nutr 5: 154–161PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Young PT (1966) Hedonic organization and regulation of behavior. Psychol Rev 72: 59–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Young PT, Trafton CL (1964) Activity contour maps as related to preference in four gustatory stimulus areas of the rat. J Comp Physiol Psychol 58: 68–75PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar


  1. Grunberg NE, Bowen DJ, Morse DE (1984) Effects of nicotine on body weight and food consumption in rats. Psychopharmacology 83: 93–98PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Grunberg NE, Bowen DJ, Maycock VA, Nespor SM (1985) The importance of sweet taste and caloric content in the effects of nicotine on specific food consumption. Psychopharmacology 87: 198–203PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Landsberg L, Young JB (1981) Diet-induced changes in sympathoadrenal activity: implications for thermogenesis. Life Sci 28:1801–1819PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Lipsitt LP (1977) Taste in human neonates: its effects on sucking and heart rate. In Weiffenbach JM (ed) Taste and development. The genesis of sweet preference. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, pp 125–142Google Scholar


  1. Drewnowski A, Duberstein P, Gibbs J, Halmi KA, Pierce B, Smith GP (1985) Taste and eating disorders: hedonic responsiveness in anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Paper presented at Association for Chemoreceptor Sciences Annual Meeting, Sarasota, FlaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elliott M. Blass

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations