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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Vasiliki Michopoulos, Yerkes National Primate Research Center Emory University 954 Gatewood Road Atlanta GA 30322; Email: vmichop@emory.edu; Telephone: 404 712 9420; Fax: 404 727 8088

Authors' Contributions: Authors Michopoulos and Wilson designed and organized the studies and wrote the protocols.

Authors Michopoulos, Toufexis and Wilson collected the data.

Author Higgins undertook the statistical analyses.

Authors Michopoulos, Toufexis and Wilson contributed to the interpretation of the data.

Authors Michopoulos and Wilson wrote the first draft of the manuscript.

All authors contributed to and have approved the final manuscript.

Acknowledgments: The study was conducted with the technical expertise of Jennifer Whitley, Shannon Bounar, Jodi Godfrey, Marta Checchi, Christine Marsteller, Jonathon Lowe, Desiree Sharpe, Rebecca Herman, Robert Johnston and Gregory Henry.

We thank Dr. Victor May (University of Vermont) for performing the serum PACAP assays.

Disclosures: All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


Research Funding:

Funding support for this study was provided by NIH grants HD46501 (MW), MH081816 (DT), and RR00165, and F31MH085445 (VM).


  • social subordination
  • psychosocial stress
  • animal model
  • discriminate analysis

Social subordination produces distinct stress-related phenotypes in female rhesus monkeys


Journal Title:



Volume 37, Number 7


, Pages 1071-1085

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Social subordination in female macaques is imposed by harassment and the threat of aggression and produces reduced control over one's social and physical environment and a dysregulation of the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis resembling that observed in people suffering from psychopathologies. These effects support the contention that this particular animal model is an ethologically relevant paradigm in which to investigate the etiology of stress-induced psychological illness related to women. Here, we sought to expand this model by performing a discriminate analysis (DA) on 33 variables within three domains; behavioral, metabolic/anthropomorphic, and neuroendocrine, collected from socially housed female rhesus monkeys in order to assess whether exposure to social subordination produces a distinct phenotype. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was also calculated to determine each domain's classification accuracy. DA found significant markers within each domain that differentiated dominant and subordinate females. Subordinate females received more aggression, showed more submissive behavior, and received less of affiliation from others than did dominant females. Metabolic differences included increased leptin, and reduced adiponectin in dominant compared to subordinate females. Dominant females exhibited increased sensitivity to hormonal stimulation with higher serum LH in response to estradiol, cortisol in response to ACTH, and increased glucocorticoid negative feedback. Serum oxytocin, CSF DOPAC and serum PACAP were all significantly higher in dominant females. ROC curve analysis accurately predicted social status in all three domains. Results suggest that socially house rhesus monkeys represent a cogent animal model in which to study the physiology and behavioral consequences of chronic psychosocial stress in humans.

Copyright information:

© 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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