The effects of quinpirole in eliciting 50 kHz calls from the rat nucleus accumbens /
St. Pierre, Joel.
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Fifty kHz rat vocalizations are theorized to reflect a positive affective state, and index the reward value of stimuli (Knutson, Burgdorf & Panksepp, 2002; Panksepp & Burgdorf, 2003; Brudzynski,2005). Previous studies have identified the neurochemical substrate of this behaviour to be dependent on dopaminergic activity at the nucleus accumbens shell (Burgdorf, Knutson, Panksepp & Ikemoto, 2001; Thompson, Leonard & Brudzynski, 2006). The utilization of d-amphetamine (a non-selective dopamine agonist) in these studies does not address the specific dopamine receptor types involved. The present study aims to identify the role of the D2- like family of receptors in the nucleus accumbens shell in the production of 50 kHz vocalizations in adult rats. Single injections of quinpirole in a saline vehicle were administered to the nucleus accumbens shell of 57 rats, and the number of 50 kHz vocalizations were recorded. An inverted V-shaped relationship was found between quinpirole dose (0.5 ~g, 3 ~g, 6 ~g, 1 0 ~g and 20 ~g, all in 0.2~1 saline) and the mean number of 50 kHz calls produced. Quinpirole successfully elicited significantly more 50 kHz calls than did a saline control at the 6 ~g dose, as did 7 ~g/0.2 ~l of d-amphetamine injections into the same brain site. To test whether a selective D2 antagonist could reverse elicited 50 kHz calling, double injections were given that used either saline or raclopride as a pretreatment before quinpirole injections. Saline followed by 6 ~g/0.2 ~l of quinpirole elicited significantly more 50 kHz vocalizations than did a double injection of saline, while pretreatment with an equimolar dose of raclopride reduced elicited calls to control levels. Raclopride was also used as a pretreatment of 7 ~g/0.2 ~l d-amphetamine, which elicited significantly fewer 50 kHz vocalizations than saline followed by amphetamine, replicating the finding of Thompson, Leonard & Brudzynski (2006).Subcutaneous injections of 0.5 mg/kg and 1.5 mg/kg of quinpirole produced a similar number of 50 kHz vocalizations as subcutaneous injection of saline. Wider dose ranges may be explored in fiiture research. Thus, direct activation of the Da-like receptors in the nucleus accumbens shell was sufficient to elicit 50 kHz vocalizations in adult rats, an effect which was reversed with selective local antagonism of Da-like receptors. The Da-like receptor family also appears necessary for pharmacological activation of 50 kHz calling, as d-amphetamine was no longer able to effectively elicit these vocalizations from the nucleus accumbens shell when the Da-receptor family was antagonized with raclopride. The acoustic parameters of elicited vocalizations remained typical of rat 50 kHz calls. Detailed analyses of the acoustic characteristics of elicited calls indicated significant increases in call duration and peak frequency across drug injection groups, particularly among quinpirole dose groups. The implications of these findings are not yet clear, but may represent an important direction for future research into the coding of semiotic content into affective signals in rats.