Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Can rats "tell us" they want methamphetamine by "talking"?

A research group at the Medical University of South Carolina recently published a paper in the journal Behavioural Brain Research on ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) and methamphetamine self-administration.  Rats were trained to make a response to receive a methamphetamine infusion, but then responses did not yield drug delivery.  The authors observed differences in vocalizations from when methamphetamine was available and when it was not available.  Moreover, different vocalizations were observed when cues associated with methamphetamine were presented, than when other cues were presented.  These data suggest drug addiction researchers could use USVs to study the subjective states (e.g., "craving") associated with methamphetamine reinforcement.

Reference - S.V. Mahler et al. (2012) A rodent “Self-Report” measure of methamphetamine craving? Rat ultrasonic vocalizations during methamphetamine self-administration, extinction, and reinstatement . Behavioural Brain Research  , in press.