Vocalizations provide a means of communication with high fidelity and information rate for many species. Di-encephalon and brainstem neural circuits have been shown to control mouse vocal production; however, the role of cortical circuits in this process is debatable. Using electrical and optogenetic stimulation, we identified a cortical region in the anterior cingulate cortex in which stimulation elicits ultrasonic vocalizations. Moreover, fiber photometry showed an increase in Ca2+ dynamics preceding vocal initiation, whereas optogenetic suppression in this cortical area caused mice to emit fewer vocalizations. Last, electrophysiological recordings indicated a differential increase in neural activity in response to female social exposure dependent on vocal output. Together, these results indicate that the cortex is a key node in the neuronal circuits controlling vocal behavior in mice.
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