Ultrasonic vocalization behavior differs between lines of ethanol-preferring and nonpreferring rats.
To further understand the relationship between emotional state and alcohol intake in rats, the tendency to emit ultrasonic vocalizations in response to an aversive, but nonpainful, air puff stimulus was tested in several rat lines. Included in this group were Maudsley Reactive (MR) and Non-Reactive (MNR) rats, and several lines of rats with either high ethanol preference or a low ethanol preference: Preferring, (P), Alko-Alcohol (AA), and Fawn-Hooded (FH) animals; and Non-Preferring (NP), Alko-Non-Alcohol (ANA), and Flinders Resistant Line (FRL). MR rats emitted fewer ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) and showed less preference for ethanol than did MNR animals. An overall analysis that included the P, NP, FH, FRL, AA, and ANA groups demonstrated a significant negative correlation between the total number of USVs emitted and ethanol consumption. NP, FRL, and especially ANA rats (low ethanol-preferring) emitted the most USVs--to an extent similar to that typically found for normal rats. The duration of vocalizing was higher only in the NP and the FRL rats the relative to their P and FH comparison groups, respectively. In the ethanol-preferring and nonpreferring lines, the numbers of USVs emitted correlated positively with the duration of vocalizing, but not with the latency to vocalize, which in turn did not correlate strongly with ethanol intake. The latency to vocalize did not correlate significantly with ethanol intake across all drinking lines or MR or MNR rats, but was found to be higher in FH and AA rats relative to their nondrinking comparison groups. These associations suggest that the relationship between emotional state and ethanol drinking is complex and cannot be attributed to a simple elevated state of anxiety or emotionality. Further examination of the central nervous system mechanisms mediating the difference in USVs between paired lines of ethanol-preferring and nonpreferring rats may identify neurochemical factors that predict ethanol preference.
Knapp, DJ; Kampov-Polevoy, AB; Overstreet, DH; Breese, GR; Rezvani, AH
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