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Environmental and Pharmacological Modulation of Amphetamine- Induced 50-kHz Ultrasonic Vocalizations in Rats

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 2 ]

Author(s):

Henrike Rippberger, Marcel M. van Gaalen, Rainer K.W. Schwarting and Markus Wohr   Pages 220 - 232 ( 13 )

Abstract:


Rats emit high-frequency 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) in appetitive situations like social interactions. Drugs of abuse are probably the most potent non-social elicitors of 50-kHz USV, possibly reflecting their euphorigenic properties. Psychostimulants induce the strongest elevation in 50-kHz USV emission, particularly amphetamine (AMPH), either when applied systemically or locally into the nucleus accumbens (Nacc). Emission of AMPH-induced 50-kHz USV depends on test context, such as the presence of conspecifics, and can be manipulated pharmacologically by targeting major neurotransmitter systems, including dopamine (DA), noradrenaline (NA), and serotonin (5-HT), but also protein kinase C (PKC) signaling. Several D1 and D2 receptor antagonists, as well as typical and atypical antipsychotics block the AMPH-induced elevation in 50-kHz USV. Inhibiting D1 and D2 receptors in the Nacc abolishes AMPH-induced 50-kHz USV, indicating a key role for this brain area. NA neurotransmission also regulates AMPH-induced 50-kHz USV emission given that α 1 receptor antagonists and α 2 receptor agonists exert attenuating effects. Supporting the involvement of the 5-HT system, AMPH-induced 50-kHz USV are attenuated by 5-HT2C receptor activation, whereas 5-HT2C receptor antagonism leads to the opposite effect. Finally, treatment with lithium, tamoxifen, and myricitrin was all found to result in a complete abolishment of the AMPH-induced increase in 50-kHz USV, suggesting the involvement of PKC signaling. Neurotransmitter systems involved in AMPH-induced 50-kHz USV emission only partially overlap with other AMPH-induced behaviors like hyperlocomotion. The validity of AMPHinduced 50-kHz USV as a preclinical model for neuropsychiatric disorders is discussed, particularly with relevance to altered drive and mood seen in bipolar disorder.

Keywords:

Amphetamine, antipsychotics, dopamine, lithium, serotonin, ultrasonic vocalizations.

Affiliation:

Behavioral Neuroscience, Experimental and Biological Psychology, Philipps-University of Marburg, Gutenbergstr. 18, 35032 Marburg, Germany.

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