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, 28, 51-57

Loneliness in Monkeys: Neuroimmune Mechanisms

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Loneliness in Monkeys: Neuroimmune Mechanisms

John P Capitanio et al. Curr Opin Behav Sci.

Abstract

Loneliness, or perceived social isolation, may be evident in any group-living species, although its assessment in nonhumans provides some measurement challenges. It is well-known that loneliness in humans confers significant risk for morbidity and mortality, although mechanisms remain unclear. The authors describe a naturally-occurring model of loneliness in adult male rhesus monkeys that shows many parallels with the phenomenon in humans. Lonely monkeys (those that display high frequencies of social initiations but low frequencies of complex interaction) show elevated sympathetic nervous system activity and down regulated Type I interferon responses. Analysis of data from simian immunodeficiency virus-infected monkeys indicates that these physiological changes have functional consequences. Use of this animal model can help identify mechanisms by which loneliness impacts health.

Conflict of interest statement

Declarations of interest: none

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