Abstract # 4262 Poster # 74:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2012 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 9 (Gardenia) Poster Presentation


A LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF THE EFFECT OF ADOPTION ON ANXIETY AND ALCOHOL INTAKE: A NONHUMAN PRIMATE MODEL

W. F. Espinel1, A. N. Sorenson1, M. L. Schwandt2, S. G. Lindell3, L. A. Fairbanks4, C. S. Barr3, S. J. Suomi5 and J. D. Higley1
1Brigham Young University, Department of Psychology, Provo, UT 84602, USA, 2Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies, NIH/NIAAA, 3Section of Comparative Behavioral Genomics, LNG, NIH/NIAAA, 4Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science, Semel Institute, UCLA, 5NIH Animal Center, National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, LCE.
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     Adopted children are at risk for various psychopathological disorders. Studies of the effects adoption in humans are difficult to perform because of the difficulty separating genetic risk and treatment effects. This study investigates the effects of adoption using a nonhuman primate model. Three experimental paradigms were used to assess stress-related behaviors, stress physiology, and adolescent alcohol intake. Rhesus monkeys (Macaca Mulatta) (n=145) were reared in social groups for their first six months by a biological mother or an unrelated lactating female. At six months of age, they were exposed to four, 4-day mother-infant separations. Behavioral observations and plasma stress hormones were used to compare group responses to the separation stressor. Three years later when subjects were adolescents, an unfamiliar intruder was placed outside their home pen and stress-related behavioral responses were again measured. Finally, adolescents’ daily alcohol consumption was measured across 8-10 weeks. Adopted subjects exhibited more behavior withdrawal (a milder form of freezing—p< 0.004) and higher ACTH (p< 0.001) during the Acute and Chronic phases of separation. As adolescents, adopted subjects continued to show more behavioral withdrawal during the intruder paradigm stressor (p<0.03). Paradoxically, alcohol intake was lower in adolescents raised by an adoptive mother (p<0.004). Maternal treatment and mismatched temperament between the adopted mother and infant are potential mechanisms leading to differences exhibited by subjects reared by their biological vs. adopted mother.