Behaviour 2019
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Sex- and context-dependent effects of acute isolation on vocal and non-vocal social behaviors in mice
Xin Zhao, Patryk Ziobro, Nicole M. Pranic, Samantha Chu, Samantha Rabinovich, William Chan, Jennifer Zhao, Caroline Kornbrek, Zichen He, Katherine A. Tschida. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States

While the effects of chronic social isolation on mouse behavior have been well studied, much less is known about how acute isolation impacts mouse social behavior and whether these effects vary according to sex and the context of the social encounter. To address these questions, we measured the effects of acute (3-day) social isolation on the vocal and non-vocal social behaviors of male and female mice during same-sex and opposite-sex social interactions. In pairs of females, we found that acute isolation increases ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs), increases social interaction time, and drives the emergence of same-sex mounting accompanied by USVs. In male-male pairs, acute isolation increases the proportion of trials with high rates of USVs and strengthens the coupling between USV production and non-vocal social interactions. In male-female pairs, acute isolation had no effect on USV production or time spent interacting, although single-housed males were more likely to mount females. We conclude that the effects of acute isolation on vocal and non-vocal social behavior vary according to sex and social context, with the greatest impacts observed on interactions between females.