Olfactory priming reinstates extinguished chocolate-induced conditioned place preference

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A major problem in the dietary treatment of disorders associated with excessive eating, such as obesity, is the high rate of relapse into maladaptive eating habits after withdrawal from consumption of palatable, energy-dense food. As olfaction has a major role in appetite and eating behavior, in this study we used a reinstatement model based on conditioned place preference to investigate the ability of olfactory priming to reinstate extinguished chocolate-induced conditioned place preference in sated mice. We found that olfactory priming, which was ineffective in inducing conditioned place preference in the control group, reactivated place preference following the extinction procedure in the experimental group. These results extend previous reports of the reinstatement of food seeking induced by pellet priming and, for the first time, show the possibility of using olfactory priming in an animal model of relapse. In light of the major role of olfactory inputs in appetite and of cues in relapse, the present results indicate that smell is an important factor to consider in the treatment of eating disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-240
Number of pages4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


  • Chocolate
  • Mice
  • Olfactory priming
  • Reinstatement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Psychology(all)


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