Abstract # 146:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2011 04:45 PM-05:00 PM: Session 20 (Salon F (Sixth Floor)) Oral Presentation


S. L. Willard1, T. C. Register1, A. J. Bennett1, P. J. Pierre1, M. L. Laudenslager2, D. W. Kitzman1, M. K. Childers1, R. W. Grange3, S. B. Kritschevsky1 and C. A. Shively1
1Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA, 2University of Colorado Denver, School of Medicine, 3Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Measures of physical function such as gait speed predict morbidity and mortality in elderly people, yet the biological substrates of these relationships are unknown. Given the lack of relevant animal models of aging and physical function in which to investigate these relationships, we developed age-sensitive measures of physical function in Old World monkeys. Locomotor behaviors (locomoting, climbing, leaping/jumping) of old (mean=20 years) and young (mean=9 years) adult female cynomolgus (Macaca fascicularis: n=2 old, 4 young), bonnet (Macaca radiata: n=5 old, 5 young), and African green (Chlorocebus aethiops: n=14 old, 15 young) monkeys were recorded using four 15-min focal observations and ? three ad libitum walking speed observations per monkey. ANOVA was used to determine main and interaction effects of species and age. Physical function varied by age and species. African greens spent more time locomoting (F[2,39]=7.21, p=0.002) and leaping/jumping (F[2,39]=10.4, p=0.0002) than macaques, and cynomolgus macaques walked slower than the other species (F[2,39]=4.9, p=0.01). Compared to young monkeys, old monkeys walked substantially slower (F[1,39]=13.14, p=0.0008), spent less time climbing (F[1,39]=5.6, p=0.023), and tended to spend less time leaping/jumping (F[1,39]=3.7, p=0.06). Of these measures, walking speed appeared to be most sensitive to age in Old World monkeys. These nonhuman primate species may be useful models of aging and physical function in which to study the biological systems underlying the relationship between gait speed and morbidity.