Species differences in adrenocortical activity of new world primates: Response to dexamethasone suppression



The effect of dexamethasone-induced alteration of adrenocortical activity was assessed in two species of New World primates: Saimiri sciureus and Callicebus moloch. Basal and stress levels of corticosteroids were determined following treatment with three doses of dexamethasone (0, 50, or 500 μg/kg). Saimiri showed substantially higher basal levels of corticosteroids than did Callicebus and a greater incremental corticosteroid response to physical restraint. Dexamethasone was found to reduce basal corticosteroids in both species, although this effect was greater for Callicebus than for Saimiri Moreover, the adrenocortical response to physical restraint was reduced by dexamethasone treatment in Callicebus but not in Saimiri. The pattern of results suggests that the species differ in the mechanisms mediating adrenocortical activity.