Presentation Abstract

Program#/Poster#: 49.06/P5
Presentation Title: Where did she go? Male mice emit distinct ultrasonic vocalizations when the female is removed from the social interaction environment
Location: Halls B-H
Presentation time: Saturday, Nov 09, 2013, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Topic: ++C.07.a. Autism: Genetic and animal models
1MIND Inst. and Dept. of Psychiatry. UC Davis, Sacramento, CA; 2Lab. of Behavioral Neurosci., Natl. Inst. of Mental Hlth. Intramural Res. Program, Bethesda, MD
Adult male mice emit large numbers of complex ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) when interacting with adult females. Call numbers and call categories differ greatly among inbred mouse strains. Little is known about how USVs change in response to the subsequent absence of social cues. To investigate whether adult male mice alter their call repertoires in response to the presence and absence of female stimulus mice, we designed a novel three-phase male-female social interaction test. Phase I is a 5-min session, during which the male subject freely interacts with an unfamiliar C57BL/6J (B6) estrous female mouse. Phase II is a 3-min session, during which the male remains in the cage but the female is removed. Phase III is a 3-min session, during which the same female was placed back into the cage to rejoin the male subject mouse. B6, FVB/Ant (FVB), and BTBR T+ tf/J (BTBR) males were tested in this paradigm. All three strains emitted USVs during the absence of the estrus female. Strain comparisons indicated that: 1) In the presence of an estrus female (Phase I and Phase III), BTBR males emitted fewer calls as compared to B6 and FVB males. 2) In the absence of the female (Phase II), all FVB males vocalized, while only one third of B6 males and one third of BTBR males vocalized. 3) All three strains displayed alterations in call category repertoires after the female was removed. B6 displayed a higher percentage of upward and a lower percentage of frequency step calls than in Phase I. BTBR displayed a lower percentage of complex calls than in Phase I. FVB displayed a lower percentage of complex, downward, and flat calls, but a higher percentage of two-component, upward, and short calls than in Phase I. Call categories reverted to the Phase I pattern when the female was returned in Phase III. Present findings indicate that males of commonly used inbred strains emit USVs when a partner female leaves the testing arena, and alter their vocal repertoires in response to the absence of social cues.

Disclosures:  M. Yang: None. J.N. Crawley: None. D. Kalikhman: None. D. Loureiro: None.
Keyword(s): Ultrasonic vocaliations
Communication in mice
Mouse models of autism
Support: National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research Program

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