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Rat Ultrasonic Vocalizations and Behavioral Neuropharmacology: From the Screening of Drugs to the Study of Disease.

Simola N - Curr Neuropharmacol (2015)

Bottom Line: Rat USVs are sensitive to the effects of certain classes of psychoactive drugs, suggesting that emission of rat USVs can have relevance not only to neurobiology, but also to neuropharmacology and psychopharmacology.Attention will be focused on the issues of how rat USVs can be used to evaluate the pharmacological properties of different classes of drugs, and how rat USVs can be combined with other behavioral models used in neuropharmacology.The strengths and limitations of experimental paradigms based on the evaluation of rat USVs will also be discussed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of Neuropsychopharmacology, University of Cagliari, Via Ospedale, 72, 09124, Cagliari, Italy. nicola.simola@gmail.com.

ABSTRACT
Several lines of evidence indicate that rats emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) in response to a wide range of stimuli that are capable of producing either euphoric (positive) or dysphoric (negative) emotional states. On these bases, recordings of USVs are extensively used in preclinical studies of affect, motivation, and social behavior. Rat USVs are sensitive to the effects of certain classes of psychoactive drugs, suggesting that emission of rat USVs can have relevance not only to neurobiology, but also to neuropharmacology and psychopharmacology. This review summarizes three types of rat USVs, namely 40-kHz USVs emitted by pups, 22-kHz USVs and 50-kHz USVs emitted by young and adult animals, and relevance of these vocalizations to neuropharmacological studies. Attention will be focused on the issues of how rat USVs can be used to evaluate the pharmacological properties of different classes of drugs, and how rat USVs can be combined with other behavioral models used in neuropharmacology. The strengths and limitations of experimental paradigms based on the evaluation of rat USVs will also be discussed.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Effects of different drugs of abuse on the acoustic featuresof 50-kHz USVs emitted by rats immediately after drugadministration. Black columns indicate a significant difference,compared with acute administration of vehicle. Raw numericdata can be found in [14]. AMPH = amphetamine; MDMA = 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine; MOR = morphine; NIC = nicotine.Doses are expressed in mg/kg.
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Figure 1: Effects of different drugs of abuse on the acoustic featuresof 50-kHz USVs emitted by rats immediately after drugadministration. Black columns indicate a significant difference,compared with acute administration of vehicle. Raw numericdata can be found in [14]. AMPH = amphetamine; MDMA = 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine; MOR = morphine; NIC = nicotine.Doses are expressed in mg/kg.

Mentions: Interestingly, drugs that fail to stimulate a sustained emission of 50-kHz USVs by rats may nevertheless influence other features of these vocalizations. Previous experiments have shown that MDMA, morphine, and nicotine can modify the acoustic features (peak frequency and bandwidth) of the 50-kHz USVs that are recorded immediately after their administration [14] (Fig. 1). Similar findings have also been reported for the psychostimulant caffeine [93]. It has been suggested that the maximum peak frequency, together with the number of vocalizations emitted, could code the affective significance of 50-kHz USVs [99]. Moreover, different subtypes of 50-kHz USVs have been isolated, and it has been proposed that each of them could have a different behavioral significance in terms of rats’ affective state [106]. (For current characteristics and classification of 50-kHz calls and their subtypes see [6]). Interestingly, MDMA, morphine, and nicotine, while failing to elevate the total number of 50-kHz USVs emitted by rats, have been shown to modify the number of certain subtypes of these vocalizations [14] (Table 3). Notwithstanding these considerations, no convincing information is currently available that links the acoustic features of drug-stimulated 50-kHz USVs to the motivational properties of drugs. Similarly, no sufficient evidence has been collected so far to conclude that drug-induced changes in the relative numeric proportion of the various 50-kHz USVs subtypes may reflect different aspects of the motivational properties of drugs. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that previous studies have suggested that the “trill” subtype of 50-kHz USVs, may be a selective indicator of drug-induced positive affect, since a sustained emission of this USVs subtype has been reported following amphetamine administration [8,106,107]. However, more recent investigations that have examined the effects of amphetamine, methamphetamine, and morphine on the different subtypes of 50-kHz USVs have led to mixed results, and showed either a decrease or no changes in the number of “trill” vocalizations after administration of these drugs [92,95,108]. On these bases, additional studies are needed to clarify whether modifications in the acoustic features and subtypes of drug-induced 50-kHz USVs may somehow relate to the motivational properties of rewarding drugs.


Rat Ultrasonic Vocalizations and Behavioral Neuropharmacology: From the Screening of Drugs to the Study of Disease.

Simola N - Curr Neuropharmacol (2015)

Effects of different drugs of abuse on the acoustic featuresof 50-kHz USVs emitted by rats immediately after drugadministration. Black columns indicate a significant difference,compared with acute administration of vehicle. Raw numericdata can be found in [14]. AMPH = amphetamine; MDMA = 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine; MOR = morphine; NIC = nicotine.Doses are expressed in mg/kg.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4598429&req=5

Figure 1: Effects of different drugs of abuse on the acoustic featuresof 50-kHz USVs emitted by rats immediately after drugadministration. Black columns indicate a significant difference,compared with acute administration of vehicle. Raw numericdata can be found in [14]. AMPH = amphetamine; MDMA = 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine; MOR = morphine; NIC = nicotine.Doses are expressed in mg/kg.
Mentions: Interestingly, drugs that fail to stimulate a sustained emission of 50-kHz USVs by rats may nevertheless influence other features of these vocalizations. Previous experiments have shown that MDMA, morphine, and nicotine can modify the acoustic features (peak frequency and bandwidth) of the 50-kHz USVs that are recorded immediately after their administration [14] (Fig. 1). Similar findings have also been reported for the psychostimulant caffeine [93]. It has been suggested that the maximum peak frequency, together with the number of vocalizations emitted, could code the affective significance of 50-kHz USVs [99]. Moreover, different subtypes of 50-kHz USVs have been isolated, and it has been proposed that each of them could have a different behavioral significance in terms of rats’ affective state [106]. (For current characteristics and classification of 50-kHz calls and their subtypes see [6]). Interestingly, MDMA, morphine, and nicotine, while failing to elevate the total number of 50-kHz USVs emitted by rats, have been shown to modify the number of certain subtypes of these vocalizations [14] (Table 3). Notwithstanding these considerations, no convincing information is currently available that links the acoustic features of drug-stimulated 50-kHz USVs to the motivational properties of drugs. Similarly, no sufficient evidence has been collected so far to conclude that drug-induced changes in the relative numeric proportion of the various 50-kHz USVs subtypes may reflect different aspects of the motivational properties of drugs. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that previous studies have suggested that the “trill” subtype of 50-kHz USVs, may be a selective indicator of drug-induced positive affect, since a sustained emission of this USVs subtype has been reported following amphetamine administration [8,106,107]. However, more recent investigations that have examined the effects of amphetamine, methamphetamine, and morphine on the different subtypes of 50-kHz USVs have led to mixed results, and showed either a decrease or no changes in the number of “trill” vocalizations after administration of these drugs [92,95,108]. On these bases, additional studies are needed to clarify whether modifications in the acoustic features and subtypes of drug-induced 50-kHz USVs may somehow relate to the motivational properties of rewarding drugs.

Bottom Line: Rat USVs are sensitive to the effects of certain classes of psychoactive drugs, suggesting that emission of rat USVs can have relevance not only to neurobiology, but also to neuropharmacology and psychopharmacology.Attention will be focused on the issues of how rat USVs can be used to evaluate the pharmacological properties of different classes of drugs, and how rat USVs can be combined with other behavioral models used in neuropharmacology.The strengths and limitations of experimental paradigms based on the evaluation of rat USVs will also be discussed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of Neuropsychopharmacology, University of Cagliari, Via Ospedale, 72, 09124, Cagliari, Italy. nicola.simola@gmail.com.

ABSTRACT
Several lines of evidence indicate that rats emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) in response to a wide range of stimuli that are capable of producing either euphoric (positive) or dysphoric (negative) emotional states. On these bases, recordings of USVs are extensively used in preclinical studies of affect, motivation, and social behavior. Rat USVs are sensitive to the effects of certain classes of psychoactive drugs, suggesting that emission of rat USVs can have relevance not only to neurobiology, but also to neuropharmacology and psychopharmacology. This review summarizes three types of rat USVs, namely 40-kHz USVs emitted by pups, 22-kHz USVs and 50-kHz USVs emitted by young and adult animals, and relevance of these vocalizations to neuropharmacological studies. Attention will be focused on the issues of how rat USVs can be used to evaluate the pharmacological properties of different classes of drugs, and how rat USVs can be combined with other behavioral models used in neuropharmacology. The strengths and limitations of experimental paradigms based on the evaluation of rat USVs will also be discussed.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus