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Behav Brain Res. 2009 Jan 30;197(1):205-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2008.08.037. Epub 2008 Sep 3.

Repeated intravenous amphetamine exposure: rapid and persistent sensitization of 50-kHz ultrasonic trill calls in rats.

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Department of Psychology and Institute for Neuroscience, University of Texas at Austin, TX 78712, USA.


Short 50-kilohertz (kHz) range frequency-modulated ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) produced by rats and mice are unconditionally elicited by drugs of abuse or electrical stimulation that increase dopamine activity in the nucleus accumbens, and it has been suggested that they reflect "positive affect" or incentive motivational states associated with appetitive behavior. The repeated administration of amphetamine is known to not only produce "psychomotor" sensitization, but also to facilitate a number of appetitive behaviors, including conditioned drug pursuit behavior. We were interested, therefore, in whether amphetamine-induced 50-kHz USVs would also increase with repeated drug exposure. USV recordings were made during 5-min sessions immediately after a saline infusion, and again 4-5h later after 1.0mg/kg intravenous amphetamine exposure. These sessions took place every other day over a 5-day period. A challenge dose of 1.0mg/kg amphetamine was administered 2 weeks later to determine whether sensitization would persist. The initial amphetamine infusion increased 50-kHz USVs relative to the saline infusion. This effect was enhanced over trials and during the amphetamine challenge 2 weeks later. Classification of 50-kHz range call types revealed that complex frequency-modulated trill calls were sensitized by amphetamine, but not flat 50-kHz calls. It is possible that 50-kHz USV recordings could provide a potentially valuable behavioral measure of sensitization linked to enhanced incentive salience and increased tendency to self-administer drugs of abuse.

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