Claudia Gonzalez, Brigham Young University
Cortisol has been shown to be a potential bio-marker as it discriminates between individuals with and without depression (Rush et al., 1996 and Ising et al., 2007). However, cortisol has not been used to predict variation in temperament extremes that lead to pathological behaviors in adulthood. In order to examine the relationship between cortisol and temperament extremes, data from the bio-behavioral assessment (BBA) was used. The BBA data base includes data collected from over 2,700 infant rhesus macaques located in California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC). During the BBA four blood samples per subject are obtained and later assayed for plasma cortisol levels. In this study, the plasma cortisol response levels were looked at in a holistic form encompassing all individual cortisol samples. The four points of plasma cortisol concentrations were used to extract patterns of response per subject which provided classifications for each of the monkeys. The pathological patterns of cortisol response were characterized by abnormal plasma cortisol levels in response to Dexamethasone suppression testing and adrenocorticotropin ACTH injections. The variability in plasma cortisol patterns was then compared to BBA temperament ratings of vigilance, gentle, nervousness and confidence. These results showed that 12 of the 26 possible patterns of response were significantly (p<.05) related to each of the temperament ratings of vigilance, gentleness and confidence. Thus cortisol response patterns can be used both as biomarkers for vigilance, gentleness and confidence, and as potential predictors for pathological behaviors in adulthood.