Abstract # 42:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 7 (South Main Hall) Poster Presentation

Pair-housing and initial SIV infection in adult male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

L. D. Cox, K. C. Baker and L. A. Doyle
Tulane National Primate Research Center, 18703 Three Rivers Road, Covington, LA 70433, USA
     An understanding of the effect of SIV infection on the wellbeing of pair-housed macaques can guide behavioral management in the context of infectious disease research. Two stable pairs of 5-year-old male rhesus macaques implanted with radiotelemetry transmitters were studied prior to and following SIV infection. To date, 14.7 hours of behavioral data and 11 twenty-four hour recordings of body temperature have been analyzed. During the first two weeks post-inoculation, clinical illness was manifested in all subjects by fever (e.g. maximum temperature elevation of 0.8ºC 8 - 11 days post-inoculation) and a nine-fold decrease in time spent feeding. Activity budgets did not vary in a consistent direction over all subjects for any other classes of nonsocial behavior (including anxiety-related, depression-related, or abnormal behavior). However, levels of contact affiliation almost doubled in all subjects in the immediate post-inoculation period. Body temperature and contact affiliation remained elevated in the subsequent two-week period, but reduced feeding was no longer observed. Contact aggression, which was very rare pre-inoculation, was not recorded during the first month after inoculation. These preliminary data suggest that compatible pairs of adult male rhesus macaques can remain stable during periods of acute illness in both partners. Ongoing behavior and heart rate data collection with these and additional subjects will permit us to assess the suggestion that the benefits of social housing are preserved during initial SIV-related illness.