, Volume 235, Issue 7, pp 1887–1896 | Cite as

Diazepam blocks 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations and stereotypies but not the increase in locomotor activity induced in rats by amphetamine

  • Gisele de Oliveira Guaita
  • Debora Dalla Vecchia
  • Roberto Andreatini
  • Donita L. Robinson
  • Rainer K. W. Schwarting
  • Claudio Da Cunha
Original Investigation



We have recently shown that the benzodiazepine diazepam inhibits dopamine release in the NAc and blocks the increased release of dopamine induced by DL-amphetamine. Rewarding stimuli and many drugs of abuse can induce dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens as well as 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) in rats.


In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that diazepam can also block the increase in locomotor activity and USVs elicited by amphetamine.


Fifty-kilohertz USVs, stereotypy, and locomotor behavior were scored in adult male Wistar rats treated with i.p. injections of saline, 3 mg/kg DL-amphetamine, 2 mg/kg diazepam, 0.2 mg/kg haloperidol, or a combination of these drugs.


In agreement with previous studies, amphetamine caused significant increases in the number of USV calls, stereotypies, and locomotor activity. The D2 dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol blocked the effects of amphetamine on USVs, stereotypy, and locomotor activity. Diazepam blocked the effect of amphetamine on USV and stereotypy, but not on horizontal locomotion.


These results suggest that diazepam blocks the rewarding effect of amphetamine. This finding is promising for basic research regarding treatments of substance use disorders and evaluation of the impact of benzodiazepines on motivation.


Diazepam Amphetamine Dopamine Addiction Drugs of abuse Psychostimulants 



C.D.C, R.A., D.L.R., and R.K.W.S. designed the research; G.O.G. and D.D.V performed the research; G.O.G., C.D.C, D.D.V. D.L.R., and R.A. analyzed the data; and G.O.G. and C.D.C wrote the paper.

Role of the funding source

GOG, DDV, RA, and CDC were supported by INNT, CNPq, CAPES, and UFPR; SCHW was supported by DFG (SCHW 559/14–1); and DLR was supported by the UNC Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de FarmacologiaUniversidade Federal do ParanáCuritibaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Bowles Center for Alcohol StudiesUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Behavioral Neuroscience, Experimental and Biological Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Marburg Center for Mind, Brain and Behavior (MCMBB)Philipps-University of MarburgMarburgGermany

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