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CSF Monoamines, Age and Impulsivity in Wild Grivet Monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops aethiops)Fairbanks L.A.a · Fontenot M.B.b · Phillips-Conroy J.E.c · Jolly C.J.d · Kaplan J.R.e · Mann J.J.f
aNeuropsychiatric Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, Calif., bDepartment of Comparative Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., cDepartment of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, and Department of Anthropology, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., dDepartment of Anthropology, New York University, New York, N.Y., eDepartment of Pathology (Comparative Medicine) and Department of Anthropology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C., and fDepartment of Neuroscience, New York State Psychiatric Center, New York, N.Y., USA
Brain monoaminergic activity has been associated with behaviors, such as impulsive risk-taking, that tend to peak during adolescence in humans and nonhuman primates. This study was designed to assess natural variation in monoamine neurotransmitter metabolism in relation to age and behavioral impulsivity in grivet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops aethiops) living in their native habitat and subject to natural ecological pressures. Cisternal cerebrospinal fluid, collected from 22 animals living in the Awash National Park, Ethiopia, was assayed for the major metabolites of serotonin (5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, 5-HIAA), dopamine (homovanillic acid, HVA) and norepinephrine (3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol, MHPG). Concentrations of HVA declined significantly from one year of age to older adulthood. Further, a significant curvilinear relationship was identified between age and the 5-HIAA/HVA ratio, with the trough coinciding with the period of adolescence. Finally, behavioral impulsivity, as measured by re-entering baited traps a second time after the animal had already been captured and sampled for CSF, was related to lower levels of MHPG. The results suggest that normal variation in central monoaminergic activity may have functional consequences in wild populations.