Abstract # 33:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 13, 2014 04:50 PM-05:05 PM: Session 9 (Mary Gay) Symposium


PRIMATE SOCIAL STATUS AND GLUCOCORTICOID PRODUCTION: COSTS AND BENEFITS OF PHYSIOLOGICAL STRESS

S. A. Cavigelli
Pennsylvania State University, Department of Biobehavioral Health, Center for Brain, Behavior, and Cognition, 219 Biobehavioral Health Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA
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     Primate social systems involve a complex array of dynamic affiliative and agonistic relationships. In many group-living primate species, group mates develop distinct social hierarchies that persist through relatively long periods. Given these relatively long-term social ranks in primate groups (including humans), many studies have examined the potential costs and benefits of these different positions. Early studies with captive populations indicated that low-ranking individuals experienced greater physiological stress and suffered negative health consequences relative to high-ranking individuals. This canon was challenged by study results with free-ranging primates (and other social species) indicating elevated glucocorticoid stress hormones in certain high-ranking group members. In the current talk, I will review recent studies on the relationship between social status and glucocorticoid production in primates and other group-living species, with a specific comparison between captive vs. free-ranging populations. I will propose basic methods to best quantify glucocorticoid production to enhance our understanding of the functional relationship between physiological stress and health/fitness in high- vs. low-social ranking individuals. This includes a specific focus on long-term glucocorticoid monitoring to best understand health and fitness implications of social status, particularly cumulative influences on aging and age-related health and disease. Accurate quantification of long-term physiological stress profiles, in captive and free-ranging populations, is vital to understanding the role of physiological stress in primate social status, health, fitness, and aging (including humans).