Abstract # 2574 Event # 173:

Scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2009 08:15 AM-08:25 AM: Session 16 (Mission Bay Ballroom AB) Oral Presentation


RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN HYPOTHALAMIC-PITUITARY ADRENAL (HPA) AXIS ACTIVITY, GENE POLYMORPHISMS, AND ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR IN A LARGE COLONY COHORT OF RHESUS MONKEYS (MACACA MULATTA)

B. J. Kelly1, K. M. Stonemetz1, C. A. Major1, J. S. Meyer2, E. J. Vallender1, G. M. Miller1 and M. A. Novak1,2
1Harvard Medical School, One Pine Hill Dr., NEPRC, Southborough, MA 01772, USA, 2Psychology Department, University of Massachusetts, Tobin Hall, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
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We have previously reported a persistent dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis in monkeys with self-injurious behavior (SIB) and demonstrated strong correlations of self-biting with other self-directed behaviors such as self-grooming and self-grasping. Here we present initial findings of a large ongoing study aimed at determining the relationship of SIB to various endocrine, behavioral, and genetic factors. Semiannual behavioral assessments were collected on 318 monkeys [219 males; 99 females] with special attention to stereotypic behavior. Monkeys that showed self-biting or a combination of three stereotypic behaviors were classified as abnormal. Additionally, we assayed both hair and salivary cortisol in 170 of the male monkeys and genotyped the animals for polymorphisms in the mu-opioid receptor (MOR), serotonin transporter (rh5-HTTLPR), and tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2) genes. Monkeys classified as abnormal had significantly lower concentrations of hair [t(187)=2.03, p<0.05] and salivary [t(167)=2.06, p<0.05] cortisol than behaviorally normal animals. The frequency of self-biting and self-grasping were highly correlated [r=0.67, Χ2=112.91, p<0.001]. Furthermore, monkeys with the G allele of the MOR C77G polymorphism had significantly lower concentrations of hair, but not salivary cortisol [t(94)=2.39, p<0.025]. Hair and salivary cortisol were significantly correlated across the entire subject population [r=0.27, Χ2=12.79, p<0.001].These results provide additional support for our previous findings of an association between reduced HPA activity and abnormal behavior (particularly SIB) in rhesus monkeys. Supported by NCRR grants #RR011122 and #RR00168.