Abstract # 186:

Scheduled for Friday, June 19, 2015 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Cascade AJBCD) Poster Presentation


A NEW TEST OF EXECUTIVE FUNCTION FOR NONHUMAN PRIMATES

A. Greig1, S. D. Tardif2,3 and C. Ross1,2,3
1Texas A&M University-San Antonio, One University Way, San Antonio, TX 78224, USA, 2Barshop Institute for Longevity & Aging Studies, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, 3Southwest National Primate Research Center, Texas Biomedical Research Institute
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     Phenotypic tools to assess aging have been translated into a comprehensive testing system for marmosets. Development of a test to assess executive function, control of execution and planning, has proven to be difficult. A task to assess visual motor control allows the subjects to retrieve a reward from a conveyor belt. Several tasks exist including random presentation from each side of the belt, continuous presentation, reduced time frame, and alternating presentation. We developed a new task in which the subjects are asked to control the impulse to retrieve an unpreferred treat (apple) in order to wait for the preferred treat (marshmallow). The subject cannot retrieve both samples and if they retrieve the apple they cannot retrieve the preferred treat. Five geriatric subjects (G) and seven young subjects (Y) were tested on each task with 50 trials per session. Average success for subjects varied slightly during each task: alternating task (G=90.8+2.03, Y=81+2.57), reduced time (G=79+5.3; Y=72.5+5.4); continuous direction (G=87.2+2.2, Y=81.1+2.4); and random presentation (G=86.6+2.1, Y=84+2.8). The executive function task resulted in lower average success for both the geriatric and the young animals, although the geriatrics performed better (G=64+10.2, Y=42.8+9.6). Interestingly the failure of young animals was due to inability to control impulse (apple success G=16+7.3, Y=40+9.6). We believe this task may be a novel way to assess executive function in nonhuman primates.