Effects of low doses of quinpirole on production of 50 kHz vocalizations in Wistar rats
Komadoski, Melanie D.
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Rats emit two distinct types of ultrasonic vocalizations in adulthood: 22 kHz (aversive situation), and 50 kHz calls (appetitive situation). The present project is focussed on pharmacological studies of 50 kHz vocalizations. The 50 kHz calls are elicited from dopaminergic activation in the meso limbic pathway and are emitted in such appetitive situations as social contact(s), sexual encounters, food reward, etc. Eighty-five male rats were stereotaxically implanted with bilateral guide cannulae in the nucleus accumbens shell (A= 9.7, L= 1.2, V= 6.7). Quinpirole, a D2/D3 dopaminergic agonist, was injected in low doses to the nucleus accumbens shell in an attempt to elicit 50 kHz vocalizations. A dose response was obtained for the low dose range of quinpirole for six doses: 0.025 Jlg, 0.06 Jlg, 0.12 Jlg, 0.25 Jlg, 0.5 Jlg, and 1.0 Jlg. It was found that only application of the 0.25 Jlg dose of quinpirole and the 7 Jlg dose of amphetamine (positive control) significantly increased the total number of 50 kHz calls (p < 0.006 and p < 0.004 respectively); and particularly significantly increased the frequency modulated type of these calls (p < 0.01, and p < 0.006 respectively). In a double injection procedure, the dose of 0.25 Jlg quinpirole was antagonized with raclopride (D2 antagonist) or U99194A maleate (D3 antagonist) in an attempt to antagonize the response. The 0.25 Jlg dose of quinpirole was successfully antagonized by pre-treatment with an equimolar dose of U99194A maleate (p < 0.008) but not with raclopride. The 7Jlg amphetamine response was also antagonized with an equimolar dose of raclopride. Based on these results, it seems that low doses of quinpirole, particularly the 0.25 Jlg dose, are capable of increasing 50 kHz vocalizations in rats and do so by activation of the D3 dopamine receptor. This is not a biphasic response as seen with locomotor studies. Also noteworthy is the increase in frequency modulated 50 kHz calls elicited by the 0.25 Jlg dose of quinpirole indicating a possible increase in positive affect.