a1 INRA, UMR1079 SENAH, Domaine de la Prise, 35590 Saint Gilles, France
The establishment of food preferences and aversions determines the modulation of eating behaviour and the optimization of food intake. These phenomena rely on the learning and memory abilities of the organism and depend on different psychobiological mechanisms such as associative conditionings and sociocultural influences. After summarizing the various behavioural and environmental determinants of the establishment of food preferences and aversions, this paper describes several issues encountered in human nutrition when preferences and aversions become detrimental to health: development of eating disorders and obesity, aversions and anorexia in chemotherapy-treated or elderly patients and poor palatability of medical substances and drugs. Most of the relevant biomedical research has been performed in rodent models, although this approach has severe limitations, especially in the nutritional field. Consequently, the final aim of this paper is to discuss the use of the pig model to investigate the behavioural and neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the establishment of food preferences and aversions by reviewing the literature supporting analogies at multiple levels (general physiology and anatomy, sensory sensitivity, digestive function, cognitive abilities, brain features) between pigs and humans.
(Received November 02 2010)
(Accepted May 27 2011)
(Online publication August 19 2011)