Novelty response and 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations: Differential prediction of locomotor and affective response to amphetamine in Sprague-Dawley rats

Erik Garcia, Mary E. Cain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Rationale: Novelty and sensation seeking (NSS) predisposes humans and rats to experiment with psychostimulants. In animal models, different tests of NSS predict different phases of drug dependence. Ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) are evoked by psychomotor stimulants and measure the affective/motivation response to stimuli, yet the role NSS has on USVs in response to amphetamine is not determined. Objectives: The aim of the present study was to determine if individual differences in NSS and USVs can predict locomotor and USV response to amphetamine (0.0, 0.3, and 1.0 mg/kg) after acute and chronic exposure. Methods: Thirty male rats were tested for their response to novelty (IEN), choice to engage in novelty (NPP), and heterospecific play (H-USV). Rats were administered non-contingent amphetamine or saline for seven exposures, and USVs and locomotor activity were measured. After a 14-day rest, rats were administered a challenge dose of amphetamine. Results: Regression analyses indicated that amphetamine dose-dependently increased locomotor activity and the NPP test negatively predicted treatment-induced locomotor activity. The H-USV test predicted treatment-induced frequency-modulated (FM) USVs, but the strength of prediction depended on IEN response. Conclusions: Results provide evidence that locomotor activity and FM USVs induced by amphetamine represent different behavioral responses. The prediction of amphetamine-induced FM USVs by the H-USV screen was changed by the novelty response, indicating that the affective value of amphetamine - measured by FM USVs - depends on novelty response. This provides evidence that higher novelty responders may develop a tolerance faster and may escalate intake faster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-637
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Amphetamine
  • Individual differences
  • Locomotor activity
  • Novelty/sensation seeking
  • Prediction
  • Sensitization
  • Ultrasonic vocalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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