Abstract # 28:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:30 AM-11:45 AM: Session 3 (Las Olas) Oral Presentation


EVALUATING HYPOTHALAMIC-PITUITARY-ADRENAL AXIS (HPA) ACTIVITY IN MONKEYS WITH AND WITHOUT HAIR LOSS.

A. F. Hamel1, C. K. Lutz2, K. Coleman3, J. M. Worlein4, K. L. Rosenberg5, J. S. Meyer1,5 and M. A. Novak1,5
1University of Massachusetts Amherst, Neuroscience and Behavior Program, Amherst, MA 01002, USA, 2Southwest National Primate Research Center, 3Oregon National Primate Research Center, 4Washington National Primate Research Center, 5Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
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      Although alopecia in captive rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) is often considered a sign of ill-being or stress, there is little direct evidence to support this hypothesis. Measurement of cortisol in hair provides a unique opportunity to examine chronic HPA activity in monkeys with hair loss. Data were collected from male and female monkeys at 3 different facilities during routine health exams (n=99). Approximately half of the monkeys showed substantive hair loss upon visual inspection. Hair was collected from the nape of the neck for assay of cortisol (Davenport et al., 2006). Monkeys were photographed to provide quantification of hair loss using Image J Software. The data were subjected to a three-way ANOVA with alopecia status (Y [>30% hair loss], N [<10% hair loss), facility (A, B, C), and sex as variables. Hair cortisol concentrations were significantly higher in monkeys with alopecia (F=11.24,p<.01). A significant facility interaction indicated this effect was strongest in A, weak in B, and absent in C (F=6.99,p<.01). Monkeys at facility A were also slightly but significantly older than monkeys at B and C (F=4.39,p<.04). Overall, hair cortisol was positively correlated with the total percentage of hair loss (r= 0.74,p<0.01). These data show that hair loss is associated with increased HPA axis activity and reveal that facility is an important underlying variable in the study of primate behavior and physiology.