Rats emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) in situations with emotional valence, and USVs have also been proposed as a marker for memories conditioned to those situations. This study investigated whether USV emissions can predict and/or be associated with the behavior of rats in tests that evaluate unconditioned memory. To this end, rats were subjected to “tickling”, a procedure of heterospecific play that has emotional valence and elicits the emission of USVs, and afterwards evaluated in the novel object recognition test (NOR) and in the single trial continuous spontaneous alternation behavior (SAB) test in a Y-maze. The number of 22-kHz USVs (aversive) and 50-kHz USVs (appetitive) emitted in response to tickling and during NOR and SAB tests were scored, and the correlations among them and with rats’ behavior evaluated. Rats emitted 50-kHz USVs, but not 22-kHz USVs, during the NOR and SAB tests, and such calling behavior was not linked with the behavioral readouts indicative of memory function in either test. However, rats that prevalently emitted 22-kHz USVs in response to tickling displayed an impaired NOR performance. These findings suggest that measuring the emission of USVs could be of interest in studies of unconditioned memory, at least with regard to 22-kHz USVs.

Association between novel object recognition/spontaneous alternation behavior and emission of ultrasonic vocalizations in rats: Possible relevance to the study of memory

Costa G.;Serra M.;Simola N.
2021

Abstract

Rats emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) in situations with emotional valence, and USVs have also been proposed as a marker for memories conditioned to those situations. This study investigated whether USV emissions can predict and/or be associated with the behavior of rats in tests that evaluate unconditioned memory. To this end, rats were subjected to “tickling”, a procedure of heterospecific play that has emotional valence and elicits the emission of USVs, and afterwards evaluated in the novel object recognition test (NOR) and in the single trial continuous spontaneous alternation behavior (SAB) test in a Y-maze. The number of 22-kHz USVs (aversive) and 50-kHz USVs (appetitive) emitted in response to tickling and during NOR and SAB tests were scored, and the correlations among them and with rats’ behavior evaluated. Rats emitted 50-kHz USVs, but not 22-kHz USVs, during the NOR and SAB tests, and such calling behavior was not linked with the behavioral readouts indicative of memory function in either test. However, rats that prevalently emitted 22-kHz USVs in response to tickling displayed an impaired NOR performance. These findings suggest that measuring the emission of USVs could be of interest in studies of unconditioned memory, at least with regard to 22-kHz USVs.
22-kHz calls; 50-kHz calls; affect; aversion; NOR; reward; working memory; Y maze
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/317260
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