Ultrasonic vocalizations: A tool for behavioural phenotyping of mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders

Maria Luisa Scattoni, Jacqueline Crawley, Laura Ricceri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

275 Scopus citations


In neonatal mice ultrasonic vocalizations have been studied both as an early communicative behaviour of the pup-mother dyad and as a sign of an aversive affective state. Adult mice of both sexes produce complex ultrasonic vocalization patterns in different experimental/social contexts. Vocalizations are becoming an increasingly valuable assay for behavioural phenotyping throughout the mouse life-span and alterations of the ultrasound patterns have been reported in several mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders. Here we also show that the modulation of vocalizations by maternal cues (maternal potentiation paradigm) - originally identified and investigated in rats - can be measured in C57BL/6 mouse pups with appropriate modifications of the rat protocol and can likely be applied to mouse behavioural phenotyping. In addition we suggest that a detailed qualitative evaluation of neonatal calls together with analysis of adult mouse vocalization patterns in both sexes in social settings, may lead to a greater understanding of the communication value of vocalizations in mice. Importantly, both neonatal and adult USV altered patterns can be determined during the behavioural phenotyping of mouse models of human neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, starting from those in which deficits in communication are a primary symptom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-515
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal models of neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Maternal potentiation
  • Ultrasonic vocalizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Ultrasonic vocalizations: A tool for behavioural phenotyping of mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this