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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2001 Apr;24(4):370-8.

Social impulsivity inversely associated with CSF 5-HIAA and fluoxetine exposure in vervet monkeys.

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Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Animal and human research suggests that the central serotonin system is involved in the inhibition of impulsive behavior. Two studies were designed to assess this relationship in male vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops sabaeus) using a standardized test of impulsivity in a social context: the Intruder Challenge. In the first study, an index of impulsivity in response to an unfamiliar adult male intruder (including latency to approach and aggressive and assertive interactions) was inversely correlated with levels of the serotonin metabolite, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in cisternal cerebrospinal fluid (r = -0.33, p <.01, n = 138). The approach, but not aggressive, component of the Impulsivity Index was the primary contributor to this relationship (partial r = -0.27, p <.01). The second experiment compared responses to the Intruder Challenge after 9 weeks of daily treatment with fluoxetine (2 mg/kg, i.m.) or vehicle. Fluoxetine-treated subjects (n = 6) had significantly lower Impulsivity Index scores than controls (n = 12). The results from these two investigations provide evidence for serotonergic influences on social impulsivity.

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