Abstract # 51:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 5 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


EFFECTS OF MODERATE MATERNAL NUTRIENT RESTRICTION ON STRESS BEHAVIORS IN CAPTIVE BABOONS (PAPIO HAMADRYAS ANUBIS)

L. E. Overbaugh1, M. Nijland2, K. Keenan3, P. Nathanielsz2, A. Poyas1, H. Nevill4 and T. Bartlett1
1University of Texas at San Antonio, Department of Anthropology, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA, 2Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Research, University of Texas Health Science Center, 3Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago, 4Southwest National Primate Research Center
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Nutrient restriction during pregnancy has been shown to have significant negative effects on fetal growth, obstetric outcomes, and offspring health and development. Yet it is unclear what effect behavioral/environmental factors have on these outcomes. This study examines the effects of moderate maternal nutrient restriction on stress in captive baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis). We hypothesized that nutrient restriction would increase stress-related behaviors in pregnant baboons. Our study included seven females eating ad libitum (control group) and six females eating 30% less (experimental group). Subjects were individually-fed but socially housed, allowing for control of the diet and maintenance of normal social interaction and physical activity. Continuous focal sample observations [20 minutes each, 147 hours total] were video-recorded during pregnancy and lactation. Indicators of stress were analyzed, including brow wipes, muzzle wipes, mantle shakes and self-scratching. Our results do not confirm our hypothesis. Overall, females eating ad libitum engage in stress-related behaviors at an average rate of 1.004 events per minute, whereas nutrient restricted females measure a rate of 0.720 events per minute [Mann-Whitney U=16195.5, n1=250, n2=186, Z=5.42, p<0.01 two-tailed]. However, both intra-group and inter-group variability across the study period is high. Therefore, future studies should analyze the importance of activity budgets, reproductive stage and individual rank in addition to comparing stress-related behaviors with stress-hormone analyses.