Social withdrawal behaviors in nonhuman primates and changes in neuroendocrine and monoamine concentrations during a separation paradigm

  • Erickson K
  • Gabry K
  • Schulkin J
 et al. 
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This study investigated relationships between withdrawal behaviors in rhesus macaques and changes in monoamine metabolite and endocrine concentrations during repeated psychosocial stress. Rhesus monkeys (N = 71) experienced maternal separation in which four separations took place during four consecutive weeks. Behavioral observations were made, as well as plasma concentrations of cortisol and cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of the serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine metabolites were obtained. Animals were assigned to high, moderate, and low withdrawal groups, defined using baseline durations of withdrawal behaviors. Highly withdrawn animals showed less reduction than nonwithdrawn animals in serotonin metabolite concentrations over repeated separations. Highly withdrawn macaques also failed to significantly reduce cortisol concentrations across separation weeks. More adaptation in central serotonin functioning and cortisol concentrations was seen in nonwithdrawn primates than in highly withdrawn primates; these findings have implications for increased risk of developing anxiety disorders in highly inhibited children.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Cortisol
  • Development
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Serotonin
  • Temperament

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  • Kristine Erickson

  • K. Eddie Gabry

  • Jay Schulkin

  • Philip Gold

  • Stephen Lindell

  • J. Dee Higley

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