Reduced ultrasonic vocalizations in vasopressin 1b knockout mice.
The neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin have been implicated in rodent social and affiliative behaviors, including social bonding, parental care, social recognition, social memory, vocalizations, territoriality, and aggression, as well as components of human social behaviors and the etiology of autism. Previous investigations of mice with various manipulations of the oxytocin and vasopressin systems reported unusual levels of ultrasonic vocalizations in social settings. We employed a vasopressin 1b receptor (Avpr1b) knockout mouse to evaluate the role of the vasopressin 1b receptor subtype in the emission of ultrasonic vocalizations in adult and infant mice. Avpr1b null mutant female mice emitted fewer ultrasonic vocalizations, and their vocalizations were generally at lower frequencies, during a resident-intruder test. Avpr1b null mutant pups emitted ultrasonic vocalizations similar to heterozygote and wildtype littermates when separated from the nest on postnatal days 3, 6, 9, and 12. However, maternal potentiation of ultrasonic vocalizations in Avpr1b null and heterozygote mutants was absent, when tested at postnatal day 9. These results indicate that Avpr1b null mutant mice are impaired in the modulation of ultrasonic vocalizations within different social contexts at infant and adult ages.
Behavioral Brain Research