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Behav Brain Res. 2010 Sep 1;212(1):109-14. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2010.04.001. Epub 2010 Apr 9.

Repeated intravenous cocaine experience: development and escalation of pre-drug anticipatory 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations in rats.

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


Ultrasonic vocalization (USV) in the 50-kHz range occurs in rats immediately upon first-time exposure to cocaine or amphetamine, and rapidly increases with repetitive drug exposure at the same dose. This sensitized positive-affect response to these drugs of abuse is persistent in that the peak level of USVs again appears when the drug is reintroduced after several weeks of drug discontinuation. The present study explored whether with enough experience USVs might be elicited, and gradually escalate, in anticipation of impending drug delivery. Rats were trained to self-administer (SA) cocaine intravenously by lever pressing 5 days per week for 4 weeks. Yoked rats received experimenter-delivered cocaine matching that of SA rats. USVs and locomotor activity were recorded during each 10-min period prior to 60-min drug access sessions. Extinction trials in which drug access was denied were then carried out over an additional 4-week period. After about a week of cocaine experience, both the SA and yoked groups began to progressively increase USVs when placed in an environment that predicted forthcoming drug exposure. Extinction of anticipatory calls and locomotion occurred over days after drug access ended. USVs may be a useful model for specifically investigating the neural basis of drug anticipation and aid in developing and assessing new addiction treatment strategies for reducing craving and relapse.

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