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Behav Neurosci. 2001 Aug;115(4):940-4.

Nucleus accumbens amphetamine microinjections unconditionally elicit 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations in rats.

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Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, USA.


The authors have hypothesized that, in adult rats, 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) index a state characterized by high arousal and expectations of reward. This study was conducted to investigate whether dopamine agonism of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) could evoke such an appetitive state, by examining the effects of NAcc amphetamine (AMPH) microinjections on USVs. Intra-NAcc AMPH injections (0.3, 1.0, 3.0, 10.0 microg unilaterally) produced robust, dose-dependent increases in 50-kHz USVs, which could not be accounted for by concomitant increases in locomotor activity (LA). However, AMPH injections into dorsal control caudate putamen sites produced a modest, dose-dependent increase in LA without significant increases in 50-kHz USVs. These findings indicate that NAcc AMPH microinjections selectively evoke 50-kHz USVs in rats, supporting the notion that dopamine elevations in the NAcc may unconditionally elicit a state of reward anticipation.

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