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Am J Psychiatry. 1995 Jun;152(6):907-13.

Correlation of CSF 5-HIAA concentration with sociality and the timing of emigration in free-ranging primates.

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Laboratory Animal Breeders and Services, Inc., Yemassee, SC 29945, USA.



The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between behavior and serotonin in nonhuman primates.


During a routine capture and medical examination, 26 adolescent male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) were selected as subjects from a free-ranging population of 4,500 rhesus monkeys inhabiting a 475-acre sea island. Blood samples (N = 23) and CSF samples (N = 22) were obtained, and each subject was fitted with a radio transmitter collar for rapid location. The subjects were released into their social groups, and quantitative behavioral observations were made over a 3-month period.


CSF 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) concentration was positively correlated with three measures of sociality: 1) total time spent grooming others, 2) total time spent in close proximity to other group members, and 3) mean number of neighbors within a 5-m radius. In addition, CSF 5-HIAA concentration was positively correlated with age at emigration from the natal group (in months).


In adolescent male rhesus macaques living in naturalistic settings, CSF 5-HIAA concentration is positively correlated with affiliative sociality. Rhesus males with low CSF 5-HIAA concentrations exhibit less social competence and emigrate from their social groups at a younger age than do males with higher concentrations of CSF 5-HIAA.

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