Ultrasonic vocalization in response to unavoidable aversive stimuli in rats: effects of benzodiazepines

Life Sci. 1988;43(6):485-91. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(88)90149-x.


The effects of two benzodiazepine derivatives (diazepam, 0.5-1 mg/kg; alprazolam, 1.25-2.5 mg/kg) on ultrasonic calling elicited in adult rats by unavoidable aversive stimuli (footshocks) were investigated. The results show that either diazepam or alprazolam affected the duration of ultrasonic calls. In particular, a significant decrease in the length of ultrasounds was found in the group of animals treated with these benzodiazepines. The effects of diazepam were counteracted by the benzodiazepine-antagonist Ro 15-1788. On the other hand, neither a neuroleptic agent, such as haloperidol (0.5-1 mg/kg), nor an antidepressant, such as desipramine (5-10 mg/kg) influenced the parameters of ultrasonic emission in this experimental situation. The present results suggest that ultrasonic vocalization in response to unavoidable aversive stimuli could be considered as a potential new tool for studying drugs with antianxiety properties.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alprazolam / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Benzodiazepines / pharmacology*
  • Desipramine / pharmacology
  • Diazepam / pharmacology
  • Electroshock
  • Flumazenil / pharmacology
  • Haloperidol / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Ultrasonics*
  • Vocalization, Animal / drug effects*


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Flumazenil
  • Haloperidol
  • Diazepam
  • Desipramine
  • Alprazolam