Abstract # 178:

Scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2009 09:30 AM-09:40 AM: Session 16 (Mission Bay Ballroom AB) Oral Presentation


INFLUENCE OF REARING CONDITION AND 5-HTTLPR GENOTYPE ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HAIR CORTISOL AND ANXIETY AFTER A MAJOR SOCIAL CHALLENGE IN RHESUS MACAQUES (MACACA MULATTA)

A. M. Dettmer1,2, J. S. Meyer1, E. J. Vallender3, G. M. Miller3 and S. J. Suomi2
1University of Massachusetts Amherst, Neuroscience and Behavior Program, Amherst, MA 01003, USA, 2Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health & Human Development, NIH, Poolesville, MD 20837, 3Division of Neurochemistry, New England Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School, One Pine Hill Dr., Southborough, MA 01772
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In human and nonhuman primates, anxiety has been related to early life experience, a serotonin transporter gene polymorphism (5-HTTLPR), and “point” measures (plasma or salivary cortisol) of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) activity. We hypothesized that in rhesus macaques subjected to a major social challenge, behavior would be differentially related to hair cortisol (an index of chronic HPA activity) depending on rearing condition and 5-HTTLPR genotype (l/l vs. l/s or s/s). Mother-peer-reared [MPR, n=21], peer-reared [PR, n=20], and surrogate-peer-reared [SPR, n=20] monkeys were maintained in their rearing condition for the first 8 months of life, after which all infants were relocated into a mixed-rearing social group, monitored for an additional 10 months, and genotyped. Mean behavior scores across 6-month blocks were determined from twice weekly focal animal sampling. Hair samples were collected at 6, 12, and 18 months for cortisol analysis. Spearman’s rank correlation revealed no correlation between hair cortisol and behavioral anxiety at months 6 or 18 [α=0.05]. However, at month 12, relatively soon after relocation, hair cortisol was positively correlated with behavior for MPR [r=0.67] and SPR [r=0.50] but not PR infants. These correlations were present for l/l infants only [MPR, r=0.64; SPR, r=0.56]. These results suggest that, in response to a major social challenge, the relationship between behavioral anxiety and the HPA stress response is mediated in a complex manner by both early life experience and 5-HTTLPR genotype.