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Direct and long-lasting effects elicited by repeated drug administration on 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations are regulated differently: implications for the study of the affective properties of drugs of abuse.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
1469-5111
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Volume
17
Issue
3
Pages
429–441
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1017/S1461145713001235
PMID: 24138707
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Several studies suggest that 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) may indicate a positive affective state in rats, and these vocalizations are increasingly being used to investigate the properties of psychoactive drugs. Previous studies, however, have focused on dopaminergic psychostimulants and morphine, whereas little is known about how other drugs modulate 50-kHz USVs. To further elucidate the neuropharmacology of 50-kHz USVs, the present study characterized the direct and long-lasting effects of different drugs of abuse, by measuring the number of 50-kHz USVs and their 'trill' subtype emitted by adult male rats. Rats received repeated administrations of amphetamine (2 mg/kg, i.p.), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 7.5 mg/kg, i.p.), morphine (7.5 mg/kg, s.c.), or nicotine (0.4 mg/kg, s.c.), on either consecutive or alternate days (five administrations in total) in a novel environment. Seven days later, rats were re-exposed to the drug-paired environment, subjected to USVs recording, and then challenged with the same drug. Finally, 7 d after the challenge, rats were repeatedly exposed to the drug-paired environment and vocalizations were measured. Amphetamine was the only drug to stimulate 50-kHz USVs and 'trill' subtype emission during administration and challenge. Conversely, all rats emitted 50-kHz USVs when re-exposed to the test cage, and this effect was most marked in morphine-treated rats, and less evident in nicotine-treated rats. This study demonstrates that the direct and long-lasting effects of drugs on 50-kHz USVs are regulated differently, providing a better understanding of the usefulness of these vocalizations in the study of psychoactive drugs.

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