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Ultrasonic Vocalizations in Adult C57BL/6J Mice: The Role of Sex Differences and Repeated Testing

Abstract : Ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) are a major tool for assessing social communication in laboratory mice during their entire lifespan. At adulthood, male mice preferentially emit USVs toward a female conspecific, while females mostly produce ultrasonic calls when facing an adult intruder of the same sex. Recent studies have developed several sophisticated tools to analyze adult mouse USVs, especially in males, because of the increasing relevance of adult communication for behavioral phenotyping of mouse models of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Little attention has been instead devoted to adult female USVs and impact of sex differences on the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of mouse USVs. Most of the studies have also focused on a single testing session, often without concomitant assessment of other social behaviors (e.g., sniffing), so little is still known about the link between USVs and other aspects of social interaction and their stability/variations across multiple encounters. Here, we evaluated the USVs emitted by adult male and female mice during 3 repeated encounters with an unfamiliar female, with equal or different pre-testing isolation periods between sexes. We demonstrated clear sex differences in several USVs' characteristics and other social behaviors, and these were mostly stable across the encounters and independent of pre-testing isolation. The estrous cycle of the tested females exerted quantitative effects on their vocal and non-vocal behaviors, although it did not affect the qualitative composition of ultrasonic calls. Our findings obtained in B6 mice, i.e., the strain most widely used for engineering of transgenic mouse lines, contribute to provide new guidelines for assessing ultrasonic communication in male and female adult mice.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 21, 2022 - 12:27:18 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 25, 2022 - 6:32:08 PM


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Marika Premoli, Valeria Petroni, Ronald Bulthuis, Sara Anna Bonini, Susanna Pietropaolo. Ultrasonic Vocalizations in Adult C57BL/6J Mice: The Role of Sex Differences and Repeated Testing. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2022, 16, pp.883353. ⟨10.3389/fnbeh.2022.883353⟩. ⟨hal-03823043⟩



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