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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002 Apr;26(4):431-43.

Central nervous system monoamine correlates of social dominance in cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis).

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Pathology (Comparative Medicine), Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Blvd., Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1040, USA.


Social dominance is a fundamental component of both human and nonhuman primate sociality. However, its neurobiological correlates remain incompletely understood. We evaluated the association between dominance status and monoamine metabolite concentrations in cisternal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in adult male (n = 25) and female (n = 21) cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) housed in unisexual social groups. Concentrations of the metabolites of dopamine (homovanillic acid [HVA]), norepinephrine (3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol [MHPG]) and serotonin (5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid [5-HIAA]) were assayed. Dominant monkeys, both males and females, had significantly higher CSF HVA concentrations than did subordinates (p values <.05). Among males, but not females, dominants also had lower CSF 5-HIAA than subordinates (p <.05). The Dominance-HVA association observed here is consistent with recent speculation that social extraversion, a dominance-related personality trait in humans, may also reflect heightened central nervous system dopaminergic activity.

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