Ultrasonic vocalization in rats self-administering heroin and cocaine in different settings: evidence of substance-specific interactions between drug and setting

Riccardo Avvisati, Laura Contu, Emiliana Stendardo, Caterina Michetti, Christian Montanari, Maria Luisa Scattoni, Aldo Badiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
186 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

RATIONALE: Clinical and preclinical evidence indicates that the setting of drug use affects drug reward in a substance-specific manner. Heroin and cocaine co-abusers, for example, indicated distinct settings for the two drugs: heroin being used preferentially at home and cocaine preferentially outside the home. Similar results were obtained in rats that were given the opportunity to self-administer intravenously both heroin and cocaine.

OBJECTIVES: The goal of the present study was to investigate the possibility that the positive affective state induced by cocaine is enhanced when the drug is taken at home relative to a non-home environment, and vice versa for heroin.

METHODS: To test this hypothesis, we trained male rats to self-administer both heroin and cocaine on alternate days and simultaneously recorded the emission of ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs), as it has been reported that rats emit 50-kHz USVs when exposed to rewarding stimuli, suggesting that these USVs reflect positive affective states.

RESULTS: We found that Non-Resident rats emitted more 50-kHz USVs when they self-administered cocaine than when self-administered heroin whereas Resident rats emitted more 50-kHz USVs when self-administering heroin than when self-administering cocaine. Differences in USVs in Non-Resident rats were more pronounced during the first self-administration (SA) session, when the SA chambers were completely novel to them. In contrast, the differences in USVs in Resident rats were more pronounced during the last SA sessions.

CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that the setting of drug taking exerts a substance-specific influence on the ability of drugs to induce positive affective states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1501-1511
Number of pages11
JournalPsychopharmacology
Volume233
Issue number8
Early online date10 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

Keywords

  • Analgesics, Opioid/administration & dosage
  • Animals
  • Cocaine/administration & dosage
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors/administration & dosage
  • Heroin/administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reward
  • Self Administration
  • Substance-Related Disorders/psychology
  • Ultrasonic Waves
  • Vocalization, Animal/drug effects

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