Abstract # 66:

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


MU OPIOID GENOTYPE X REARING X SEX EFFECTS ON AGGRESSION AND ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR DURING SOCIAL CHALLENGE IN RHESUS MACAQUES (MACACA MULATTA)

T. C. Simmons1, I. T. Aldous1, W. F. Espinel1, A. C. Chaffin1, M. L. Schwandt2, C. S. Barr3, S. J. Suomi4 and J. D. Higley1
1Brigham Young University, Department of Psychology, Provo, UT 84602, USA, 2Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies, NIH/NIAAA, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA., 3Section of Comparative Behavioral Genomics, LNG, NIH/NIAAA, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA., 4NIH Animal Center, National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, LCE. Poolesville, MD 20837, USA.
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     Endogenous opioids are believed to modulate social sensitivity and aggression. The mu-opioid receptor gene in rhesus macaques has two common variants thought to be orthologous to human variants: C77G (CG) and C77C (CC). Based on previous studies, we predicted that rhesus macaques with the CG variant would exhibit higher rates of antisocial and aggressive behavior during social challenge. To test this hypothesis, we subjected mother-reared (MR) and nursery-reared (NR) subjects to an intruder challenge. 130 subjects were genotyped for the mu-opioid receptor gene variant. Behaviors were recorded after an unfamiliar intruder of the same sex and age was placed adjacent to the subjects’ home cage. CG, MR males received more noncontact aggression from group members and both expressed and received higher rates of contact aggression with the intruder than all other conditions except CC, NR males (p<0.005). Interestingly, NR females also received more noncontact aggression from group members than NR males despite genotype (p<0.04). In contrast to high rates of aggression, male, CG, MR subjects exhibited the lowest time in social affiliation when compared to all other genotype, sex or rearing conditions (p<0.02). Our findings suggest that the mu-opioid receptor gene modulates aggression and antisocial behavior but only in the context of rearing and sex. These findings suggest one potential pathway for antisocial aggressive behavior development in men.