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Evidence for a vocal signature in the rat and its reinforcing effects

Abstract : While the term “language” is used for human and non-human primates, “vocal communication” is rather used for rodents or other species. The main difference is that there is, to date, no evidence for a vocal signature in the well-known 50- and 22-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) emitted by rats. Here, we show that rats can recognize the identity of the USV emitter since they self-administer preferentially playback of 50-kHz USV emitted by a stranger rat over those emitted by their cage-mate. In a second experiment, we show that the familiarity with the USV emitter also modulate the effect of USV playback during cocaine self-administration, since only stranger, but not familiar, 50-kHz USV decrease drug intake. Finally, to study the neurobiological substrate of those processes, we have tested the effects of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) lesion on these various conditions. STN-lesioned rats did not lever press much for any USV playback, whatever their emotional valence, nor did they seem able to differentiate familiar from stranger peer. Advocating for the existence of a vocal signature in rats, these results highlight the importance of ultrasonic communication in socio-affective influence of behavior, such as the influence of proximal social factors on drug consumption and confirm the role of the subthalamic nucleus on this influence.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03431671
Contributor : Christelle Baunez Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 6:38:40 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 15, 2022 - 11:45:10 AM

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Cassandre Vielle, Yann Pelloux, Christian Montanari, C. Baunez. Evidence for a vocal signature in the rat and its reinforcing effects. Proceedings of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences, In press, ⟨10.1098/rspb.2021.2260⟩. ⟨hal-03431671⟩

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