Sex differences in auditory brainstem response audiograms from vasopressin-deficient Brattleboro and wild-type Long-Evans rats

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2019
Authors:Charlton, Schatz, Burke, Paul, Dent
Secondary Authors:Delano
Journal:PLOS ONE
Date Published:Jun-08-2021

Rats are highly social creatures that produce ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) during social interactions. Brattleboro rats, a Long-Evans derived rat that lacks vasopressin (AVP) due to a mutation in the Avp gene, exhibit atypical social behavior, including fewer USVs with altered spectrotemporal characteristics during social interactions. It is unclear why Brattleboro rats produce atypical USVs, but one factor could be differences in auditory acuity between them and wild-type Long Evans rats with functional vasopressin. Previous studies have suggested a link between increased levels of AVP and auditory processing. Additionally, few studies have investigated sex differences in auditory perception by Long-Evans rats. Sex differences in auditory acuity have been found throughout the animal kingdom, but have not yet been demonstrated in rat audiograms. This study aimed to measure auditory brainstem response (ABR) derived audiograms for frequencies ranging from 1 to 64 kHz in male and female homozygous Brattleboro (Hom), heterozygous Brattleboro (Het), and wild-type (WT) Long-Evans rats to better understand the role of AVP and sex differences in auditory processing by these rats. We failed to detect significant differences between the ABR audiograms of Hom, Het, and WT Long-Evans rats, suggesting that varying levels of AVP do not affect auditory processing. Interestingly, males and females of all genotypes did differ in their ABR thresholds, with males exhibiting higher thresholds than females. The sex differences in auditory acuity were significant at the lowest and highest frequencies, possibly affecting the perception of USVs. These are the first known sex differences in rat audiograms.

Short Title:PLoS ONE
BioAcoustica ID: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith