Maternal-infant response to variable foraging demand in nonhuman primates: effects of timing of stressor on cerebrospinal fluid corticotropin-releasing factor and circulating glucocorticoid concentrations

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Jul;1071:525-33. doi: 10.1196/annals.1364.057.


The maternal stress response may vary as a function of infant developmental phase. Using a median split, 13 bonnet macaque (M. radiata) mother-infant dyads were exposed to early initiation of variable foraging demand (VFD), a prolonged stressor, whereas 11 dyads were exposed to late VFD onset. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma samples were obtained from mothers and infants prior to and following VFD. Increases in maternal CSF corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) concentrations were evident in response to late, but not early, VFD. Mothers exhibited either increased or decreased cortisol concentrations in response to VFD. However, absolute cortisol change was greater in early versus late VFD. Timing of the VFD stressor differentially affects maternal neuroendocrine response, with potential implications for the offspring's developmental trajectory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agonistic Behavior / physiology
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Glucocorticoids / blood*
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology
  • Macaca radiata
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior / physiology*
  • Social Dominance
  • Stress, Psychological / blood
  • Stress, Psychological / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Time Factors


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone