Abstract # 2867 Poster # 45:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 17, 2010 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 11 (Medallion Ballroom C/D/E/F) Poster Presentation


THE EFFECTS OF MATERNAL REARING CONDITION ON INFANT BIRTH WEIGHT IN A CAPTIVE COLONY OF RHESUS MACAQUES (MACACA MULATTA)

M. L. Miller1, A. Ruggiero1, C. Hansman2, M. Sun2, J. Heckman2 and S. Suomi1
1Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH Animal Center, Poolesville, MD 20827, USA, 2University of Chicago, 115 E. 60th St, Chicago, Illinois, 60637
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Many factors have been identified that affect birth weight in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) including maternal birth weight, age, parity and disease. However, a factor yet to be explored is maternal rearing condition. There are distinct lasting behavioral and physiological differences in individuals as a result of early experience. Some studies suggest these early experiences can be transmitted in an intergenerational manner. Whether this is mediated by social learning or physiological changes remains unclear. In this analysis we reviewed colony database records [N=159] to assess the influence of maternal rearing condition on birth weight of offspring. Maternal rearing conditions compared were social mother-reared, surrogate peer-reared, and peer-peer reared. The linear regression model was significant [ANOVA: α=0.05, adj r square=0.277]. Mother’s age and birth weight were significant positive predictors of infants’ birth weight [both P's<0.001]. Moreover, infants of peer-peer reared mothers were significantly heavier than those of mother-reared mothers [P=0.015]. Neither parity, cohort nor infant sex significantly contributed to the model. These results may highlight the importance of considering mother’s rearing condition in the outcome of her offspring and suggest the need for further investigation into the mechanisms of this potential intergenerational transmission.