Abstract # 105:

Scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2007 02:30 PM-02:45 PM: Session 11 (North Main Hall C/D) Oral Presentation

Neuroendocrinology of Maternal Behavior in Captive Titi Monkeys (Callicebus cupreus)

M. R. Jarcho1, S. P. Mendoza1,2, W. A. Mason1,2, S. A. Blozis1 and K. L. Bales1,2
1University of California, Davis, Psychology Department, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA, 2California National Primate Research Center
     Biparental infant rearing, as seen in coppery titi monkeys, can result in increased flexibility in the amount of energy either parent devotes to parental behaviors. Expression of maternal behaviors may be influenced by both steroid and peptide hormones which change in late pregnancy and the early postpartum period; in particular, oxytocin (OT) and estrogen levels should be positively associated with increased maternal behavior. Behavioral observations were conducted on nine mothers of infant titi monkeys, and were scored for maternal care variables including carrying and nursing duration, and frequency of investigation, face and anogenital licking using Behavior Tracker software. Urine samples were collected weekly from mothers both pre- and post-partum, and were analyzed for estrogen conjugates and pregnanediol (PdG). Following birth, blood samples were taken from mothers monthly for six months, and were analyzed for plasma OT and vasopressin (AVP). Post-partum week one carrying behavior was highly variable in mothers (mother carrying percent: 41.35 ± 14.20). Preliminary results show a significant increase in OT from month two to five [t(7)=-1.93, p=0.04]. A significant correlation was observed between AVP and investigation during the first month [r(3)=0.97, p<0.015]. Our preliminary data do not support many of the expected relationships between maternal behavior and hormone levels, but further research is indicated. This research supported by the CNPRC, the Good Nature Institute, and the Floyd & Mary Schwall Medical Research Fellowship.