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.
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