Abstract # 13380 Event # 75:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 22, 2019 03:15 PM-03:30 PM: (Room 309) Symposium


ASSESSMENT OF STRESS TO MONITOR WELFARE IN CAPTIVE RHESUS MONKEYS: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY

M. A. Novak and J. S. Meyer
Dept. of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003-9271, USA
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     To use stress exposure as a valid indicator of well-being, the appropriate measures must be selected. Elevated adrenal cortisol (CORT) secretion is commonly used as a proxy for stress; however, this simplistic approach has several major limitations. First, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is only one of several systems activated by stress. Second, it is necessary to choose a suitable sample matrix, since CORT can be measured in blood, saliva, urine, feces, and hair. Blood and salivary CORT concentrations are "point samples" well suited for assessing acute stress responses, 24-h urinary CORT concentrations reflect adrenocortical activity over the preceding day, while hair CORT is an integrative measure of adrenocortical output over months and is best suited for studying responses to chronic stress. Third, it is important to develop a reference range for CORT in a given sample matrix. Without such a range, how does one know if a relatively high or low CORT concentration should be considered abnormal. Fourth, chronic stress may cause either increased long-term HPA activation or decreased activation. The latter can be seen, for example, as a blunted responses to an acute stressor. Lastly, CORT and/or other biomarkers of stress are ideally complemented with behavioral assessments; however, available behavioral measures are compromised because none (e.g., stereotypies, responses in the novel object or human intruder tests, etc.) can be considered a pure measure of "stress."