Abstract # 203:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 23, 2007 11:00 AM-11:15 AM: Session 20 (North Main Hall F/G) Oral Presentation

Cognitive Effects of Iron Deficiency in Young Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

G. R. Lubach, C. L. Coe and H. R. Crispen
University of Wisconsin, Harlow Primate Laboratory, Department of Psychology, 22 North Charter Street, Madison, WI 53715, USA
     A number of studies have found impaired cognitive and behavioral development in iron-deficient (ID) infants and children. In our nonhuman primate model, we have been examining the consequences of naturally occurring iron deficiency in infant monkeys (N=47). We found that approximately one third of the monkey infants became ID by the weaning age of 6 months. Once consuming solid foods and living away from the mother in peer groups, most infants regained a normal hematology by 8-10 months of age. Cognitive testing started at 8 months with adaptation to the Wisconsin General Testing Apparatus (WGTA), followed by training for a series of learning tasks. The data were analyzed using either a two-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), or repeated measures ANOVA, with alpha set at 0.05. The monkeys were first trained on Black/White Discrimination, followed by Black/White Reversal. ID monkeys were slower at mastering the Discrimination task, and were significantly slower at learning to switch to the new color for the Reversal task. A behavioral rating was completed at the end of each test session. The ID infants were significantly less Object-oriented and Goal-directed, and significantly more distractible by the second day of the Reversal task. These learning tasks were undertaken while the monkeys were no longer ID, and suggest a persistent effect of ID on brain maturation. Significant differences in CSF neurotransmitters support that theory. Support: HD39386