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

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

Avvisati R, Contu L, Stendardo E, Michetti C, Montanari C, Scattoni MLuisa, Badiani A
Scientific 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.

Publication Year: 
2016
Citation:
2016. Psychopharmacology (Berl.), 233(8): 1501-11.
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