Abstract # 2905 Event # 59:

Scheduled for Friday, June 18, 2010 09:15 AM-09:40 AM: Session 12 (Medallion Ballroom A/B) Symposium


SOCIAL FACTORS INFLUENCE BEHAVIOR, PATHOPHYSIOLOGY, AND DISEASE SUSCEPTIBILITY IN ADULT FEMALE CYNOMOLGUS MACAQUES (MACACA FASCICULARIS)

S. L. Willard1 and C. A. Shively2
1Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Neuroscience Graduate Program, Winston-Salem, NC, USA, 2Department of Pathology (Comparative Medicine), Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
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Although social living has many benefits, the deleterious effects of social stress are evidenced by distinct patterns of behavior and pathophysiological changes that contribute to increased disease risk. For the last 22 years, we have investigated the relationship between social factors and disease vulnerability in over 100 adult female cynomolgus macaques housed in small social groups (Shively et al., 2009). Stable and long-term linear social status hierarchies form in these groups, thus exposing subordinants to chronic social stress. Socially subordinant females appear physiologically stressed compared to dominants: They have suppressed reproductive function, hypercortisolemia, increased coronary artery atherosclerosis and visceral fat, higher heart rate, and decreased dopamine receptor-2 binding potential in the striatum. Subordinants also appear behaviorally stressed compared to dominants: They are groomed less, receive more aggression, spend more time vigilant and alone, and exhibit depressive behavior. Depressed monkeys exhibit distinct behavior and physiology like that of depressed humans, including lower activity levels, unique circulating fatty acid profiles, insensitivity to glucocorticoid negative feedback, and altered serotonin-1A receptor binding in brain areas mediating emotional responses to environmental stimuli. We recently observed decreased hippocampal volume in depressed compared to nondepressed monkeys using both stereology in vitro (Willard et al., 2009) and magnetic resonance imaging in vivo [ANOVA: α=0.05]. The considerable impact of social stress on behavior and physiology thus contributes to disease risk in female cynomolgus macaques.