Mouse and rat ultrasonic vocalizations in neuroscience and neuropharmacology: State of the art and future applications
Eur J of Neuroscience. 2023-03-26; :
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Premoli M(1), Pietropaolo S(2), Wöhr M(3)(4)(5)(6), Simola N(7), Bonini SA(1).
(1)Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine, University of Brescia,
(2)University of Bordeaux, CNRS, INCIA, UMR 5287, Bordeaux, France.
(3)Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Research Unit Brain and
Cognition, Laboratory of Biological Psychology, Social and Affective
Neuroscience Research Group, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
(4)Leuven Brain Institute, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
(5)Faculty of Psychology, Experimental and Biological Psychology, Behavioral
Neuroscience, Philipps-University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany.
(6)Center for Mind, Brain and Behavior, Marburg, Germany.
(7)Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, Monserrato
University Campus, Monserrato, Italy.
Mice and rats emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs), which may express their
arousal and emotional states, to communicate with each other. There is continued
scientific effort to better understand the functions of USVs as a central
element of the rodent behavioral repertoire. However, studying USVs is not only
important because of their ethological relevance, but also because they are
widely applied as a behavioral readout in various fields of biomedical research.
In mice and rats, a large number of experimental models of brain disorders exist
and studying the emission of USVs in these models can provide valuable
information about the health status of the animals and the effectiveness of
possible interventions, both environmental and pharmacological. This review (i)
provides an updated overview of the contexts in which ultrasonic calling
behaviour of mice and rats has particularly high translational value, and (ii)
gives some examples of novel approaches and tools used for the analysis of USVs
in mice and rats, combining qualitative and quantitative methods. The relevance
of age and sex differences as well as the importance of longitudinal evaluations
of calling and non-calling behaviour is also discussed. Finally, the importance
of assessing the communicative impact of USVs in the receiver, that is, through
playback studies, is highlighted.
© 2023 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience published by Federation of
European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.