Abstract # 87:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2005 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: (Cambridge/Oxford Room) Poster Presentation

Hair: A Novel Matrix for Cortisol Analysis

M. D. Davenport1,2, S. Tiefenbacher2, M. A. Novak1,2, C. K. Lutz1 and J. Meyer1
1523 Tobin Hall, University of Massachusetts, Neuroscience & Behavior Program, Amherst, MA 01003, USA, 2New England Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Southborough, MA 01772
     There is an ongoing demand for innovative means of hormonal analysis in various primate species. We have been interested in the possible use of hair for this purpose, particularly because of its potential for assessing long-term changes in pituitary-adrenocortical activity. Unfortunately a great deal of controversy exists over using hair for quantitative hormone or drug analysis. A primary concern involves the selection of an appropriate washing procedure, and whether the subsequent analyses are determining the concentration of hormone solely within the hair shaft or are being altered by residues found on the hair shaft (such as sweat or sebum). This study investigated the use of a variety of wash solutions and the effects they have on cortisol quantification in rhesus monkey hair. The optimal method was found to involve two brief isopropanol washes of the hair strands, subsequent grinding of the washed hair in a ball mill, and then a 24-hour methanol extraction of the powdered hair. This method allows the measurement of cortisol concentrations within the hair after eliminating the potential cortisol deposits left on the surface of the hair. Hair is a potentially valuable matrix for hormonal analysis which may serve to augment other matrices currently used by primatologists. Supported by NCRR grants #RR11122 and #RR00168.