Abstract # 92:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 14, 2014 10:55 AM-11:10 AM: Session 14 (Mary Gay) Oral Presentation


INFLUENCE OF PREGNANCY ON HAIR LOSS AND CHRONIC HORMONE PROFILES IN RHESUS MONKEYS (MACACA MULATTA)

A. M. Dettmer and S. J. Suomi
Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, NIH, Poolesville, Maryland 20837, USA
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     While previous reports have found greater hair loss in pregnant vs. non-pregnant rhesus monkeys, the relationship between hair loss, pregnancy, and chronic hormone circulation has not been well studied. We studied female rhesus monkeys (N=48) in 2013, examining cortisol and progesterone in hair measured in April (pregnancy), July (postpartum 1), and October (postpartum 2) with respect to pregnancy status and hair loss. Pregnant monkeys (n=42) had a higher incidence of hair loss in July (X2=6.55, p=0.038) whereas non-pregnant monkeys (n=6) showed no change in frequency across the year. Independent of pregnancy status, monkeys with observed hair loss at each time point exhibited higher contemporaneous hair cortisol (t-tests, all p’s<0.05). Amongst pregnant females, hair cortisol in April was positively correlated with severity of hair loss in July (r=0.40, p=0.01). Amongst mothers with hair loss in July, but not control mothers, higher hair cortisol in April and July positively correlated with infant growth rate in the first 30 days of life (0.65<r<0.88, p’s <0.05). These findings implicate hair cortisol as a biomarker for chronic HPA axis activation in pregnancy, and suggest that mothers showing hair loss may be diverting more resources to their offspring than those without hair loss. Future studies will rely on hair cortisol to examine pre- and postpartum health issues in rhesus monkeys as models for human pregnancy.