Inhibition of shock-elicited ultrasonic vocalization by opioid peptides in the rat: a psychotropic effect

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1986;11(2):177-84. doi: 10.1016/0306-4530(86)90052-1.


Following three series of electric footshocks (10 shocks/day), one out of three rats in most cages were brought to emit ultrasonic vocalization for several minutes after a single shock. The characteristics of shock-elicited ultrasound were pure tone pulses of a frequency between 22 and 28 kHz, with duration longer than 300 msec. The same type of ultrasound is produced by subordinate male rats during agonistic behavior. The intracerebroventricular injection of beta-endorphin, dynorphin, methionine-enkephalin or leucine-enkephalin attenuated the shock-elicited ultrasonic vocalization. Psychotropic drugs such as diazepam and chlorpromazine also attenuated the shock-elicited ultrasonic vocalization. A test utilizing ultrasonic vocalization in rodents can provide useful data for studying the psychotropic properties of neuropeptides.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dynorphins / pharmacology
  • Endorphins / pharmacology*
  • Enkephalins / pharmacology
  • Fear / drug effects*
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Male
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Substance P / pharmacology
  • Vocalization, Animal / drug effects*
  • beta-Endorphin


  • Endorphins
  • Enkephalins
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Substance P
  • beta-Endorphin
  • Dynorphins