Abstract # 166:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 14, 2014 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 22 (Decatur B) Poster Presentation


J. M. Worlein1, K. S. Grant1,2,3, J. S. Meyer4, M. A. Novak4, K. Rosenberg4, G. H. Lee1, C. Kenney1 and T. M. Burbacher1,2,3
1Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA, 2Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington , 3Center on Human Development and Disability, University of Washington , 4Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
     Cortisol levels obtained from hair are believed to be a retrospective measure of long-term HPA activity in both human and nonhuman primates. This study examined the relationship of hair cortisol in 13 mother-infant pairs of pigtailed macaques. Maternal hair was obtained early in gestation (at ultrasound pregnancy confirmation) and again at delivery. Infant hair was obtained at birth. Maternal hair cortisol at delivery was correlated with hair cortisol obtained at ultrasound (r=0.87; P?0.001). Maternal hair cortisol levels were significantly higher at delivery than at ultrasound (t=3.96; P=0.002). Infants’ hair cortisol at birth was significantly higher than their mothers’ at delivery (t=10.8; P < 0.001). Although infant hair cortisol levels were not significantly correlated with maternal hair cortisol at either ultrasound or delivery, the relative increase (RI) in maternal cortisol during pregnancy (delivery - ultrasound) and infant’s hair cortisol at birth were highly correlated (r=0.82; P=0.001). In a smaller sample (N=8) RI was also significantly correlated with poorer infant performance on the A-not-B cognitive task (r=0.73; P=0.04). These data show a gestational rise in maternal cortisol similar to that seen in humans. These data also indicate that the relative rise in maternal cortisol during pregnancy appears to affect fetal exposure in utero and has implications for the effects of sustained maternal stress on infant development. Funded by NIH grants P51 OD010425 and R24OD01180-15.