Abstract # 13171 Event # 165:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 11, 2018 11:00 AM-11:15 AM: (Chula Vista ) Oral Presentation


PREDICTORS OF ALLOSTATIC LOAD IN ZOO-HOUSED WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLAS (GORILLA GORILLA GORILLA)

A. N. Edes, B. A. Wolfe and D. E. Crews
The Ohio State University, 4005 Smith Laboratory, 174 West 18th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
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     Stress generates physiological dysregulation, or allostatic load (AL), that may present as poor health outcomes. As this dysregulation occurs across somatic systems, human research has used allostatic load indices (ALIs), which are multi-system biomarker composites, to measure it. Similar ALIs are gradually being developed for other species. Continuing our previous research, we analyzed 69 ALIs using different biomarkers and methods for gorillas from three zoos (n=63). Synthesizing these models, we developed a proposed baseline ALI with seven biomarkers and examined associations with five potential predictors. AL ranged from 0-6 (x=1.84, SD=1.71). Contrary to pilot results, AL did not differ by sex (t-test, p=0.972). Older gorillas had significantly higher AL (linear regression, p=0.003, R2=0.125), consistent with human research. Despite associations in humans, total stressful events did not significantly predict AL in gorillas (linear regression, p=0.228, R2=0.008). Parous females had significantly higher AL than nulliparous females (t-test, p=0.043), as expected given costs of gestation, parturition, and lactation. Wild-caught gorillas had significantly higher AL than zoo-born gorillas (ANOVA, p=0.009, R2=0.119), with no significant difference between mother- and nursery-reared conspecifics. This research demonstrates age, parity, and rearing history are robust predictors of AL in gorillas; associations of sex and stressful events with AL warrant additional study. With the variety of models tested, this work also validates ALIs as a methodology in primate research, providing a foundation for future studies.