Abstract # 77:

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

Long-term Effects of Early Rearing Environment on Behavioral Activity in Adult Male Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

P. Pierre1, S. J. Suomi2 and A. J. Bennett1
1Wake Forest Health Sciences, Medical School Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA, 2National Institute on Child Health and Human Development
     Nursery-reared (NR) monkeys serve as an important translational model for research aimed at understanding the effects of early adversity. Although many studies have evaluated the effects of early rearing on infant and juvenile behavior, the longevity of these effects has not been as well-described for adult animals. Determining the extent to which adult mother-reared (MR) and NR monkeys differ in physiological and behavioral processes is a critical component to support use of this model in translational research. This study evaluated the consequences of nursery-rearing on behavioral activity in male rhesus monkeys housed in indoor:outdoor pens. Eight, 9 year-old animals, either mother-reared (n=4) or nursery-reared (n=4), participated in the experiment. Each monkey was fitted with a primate collar modified to house an Actiwatch™(AW) actimeter. The AW collar was worn over 9 consecutive 24hr periods to provide a continuous record of behavioral activity. All monkeys were more active during the light portion of the light:dark cycle [F(1,8)=2674.6, p<0.05]. Mother-reared monkeys were more active than their NR counterparts in both phases of the light:dark cycle [F(1,8)=166.3, p<0.05]. The difference between rearing groups was consistent across all days [F(1,8)=3.6, p<0.05]. Taken together, these data show the profound and long lasting effects of differential early rearing environment and suggest that overall activity levels should be considered when comparing the behavior of NR and MR monkeys. Supported by NIH grants AA13995 and AA011997.