Abstract # 1002 Poster # 68:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2005 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: (Cambridge/Oxford Room) Poster Presentation


THE ROLE OF TWO SEROTONIN PATHWAY GENE POLYMORPHISMS IN SELF-INJURIOUS BEHAVIOR IN SINGLY HOUSED Macaca mulatta

S. Tiefenbacher1, T. K. Newman2, M. D. Davenport1,3, J. S. Meyer3, J. D. Higley2 and M. A. Novak1,3
1New England Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School, One Pine Hill Drive, Southborough, MA 01772, USA, 2National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH Animal Center, Poolesville, MD, 3Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
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     The effects of serotonin pathway gene variants on the expression of self-injurious behavior (SIB) are not well understood. We investigated the role of the serotonin transporter (5HTTLPR) and monoamine oxidase A (MAOA-LPR) gene promoter polymorphisms on the expression of self-biting in a population of 24 individually housed rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta), 16 of which carried a veterinary record of self-wounding. Rates of self-biting were based on 350 5-min behavioral observations per animal collected over a 5-year period. Separate univariate analyses of variance were performed for 5HTTLPR and MAOA-LPR genotypes. Subjects homozygous for the long-allele of 5HTTLPR and/or the low-activity MAOA-LPR allele demonstrated significantly higher levels of self-biting, regardless of early rearing experience (i.e., mother-reared or nursery/peer-reared), or the presence/absence of wounding history. In addition, nursery/peer rearing and/or carrying a veterinary record of self-wounding were associated with higher rates of self-biting for both loci. Significant genotype by rearing interactions were found for each genotype, implicating that the short-allele of 5HTTLPR and the high activity allele of MAOA-LPR may offer some protection against the adverse effects of nursery/peer-rearing on self-biting. These data suggest an important role for 5HTTLPR and MAOA-LPR gene polymorphisms and rearing, and their interaction, on the expression of SIB in monkeys. Supported by NCRR grants #RR11122, #RR00168 and funds from the Division of Intramural Research, NIAAA.