Behavioral responses to social separation stressor change across development and are dynamically related to HPA activity in marmosets

Authors

  • Jack H. Taylor,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska—Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska
    2. Callitrichid Research Center, Department of Psychology, Omaha, Nebraska
    • Correspondence to: Jack Taylor, Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, AH 524, Omaha, NE 68182. E-mail: jhtaylor@unomaha.edu

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  • Aaryn C. Mustoe,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska—Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska
    2. Callitrichid Research Center, Department of Psychology, Omaha, Nebraska
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  • Jeffrey A. French

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska—Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska
    2. Callitrichid Research Center, Department of Psychology, Omaha, Nebraska
    3. Department of Biology, University of Nebraska—Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska
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  • Conflicts of interest: None.

Abstract

Psychosocial stressors activate two distinct stress–response systems, a central, behavioral response, and a peripheral, endocrine response. Both behavioral and endocrine responses to stressors are subject to individual and developmental variables, but it is not known whether stressor induced behaviors are stable across development, and how they correspond with changes in the endocrine component of the stress response. We characterized the development and stability of behavioral responses to a mild psychosocial stressor in marmosets (Callithrix geoffroyi), and assessed the degree to which the behavioral and endocrine stress–response systems were co-activated. The behavioral response to stressors was stable within individuals, but only some stressor-induced behaviors changed as the monkeys developed. Overall, there was more variability in the development of behavioral responses compared to stress-induced endocrine profiles found previously [French et al., 2012. Horm Behav 61:196–203]. In young marmosets, only increased alarm calling was correlated with increased cortisol reactivity, and in older marmosets increased cage manipulations and motor activity were associated with poorer post-stressor cortisol regulation. Because these relationships were so few, we conclude that while the behavioral and endocrine systems follow a similar developmental trajectory, each system maintains a level of independence. Furthermore, the relationship between stressor-induced behaviors and HPA activity changes across development. Am. J. Primatol. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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