Effect of a preferred companion in modulating stress in adult female rhesus monkeys

Physiol Behav. 1994 Apr;55(4):681-4. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(94)90044-2.


Using a counterbalanced design, seven adult female rhesus monkeys were removed from their social group and housed in a novel environment both alone and with a companion chosen on the basis of quantitative affiliative behaviors. Blood samples (n = 2) were collected from all study animals before the exposure to the novel environment, then at 2, 24, and 96 h thereafter for cortisol and immunological analyses. During both conditions, subjects showed evidence of stress as indicated by elevated cortisol concentrations and decreases in absolute numbers of lymphocyte subsets. There was no significant interaction between condition (alone vs. companion) and time in cortisol percent change and further planned post hoc analyses showed no significant between-condition differences for any of the postseparation time points. Similarly, no significant interaction was found between conditions and time for the absolute number of CD4+CD8-T cells, CD8+CD4- T cells, or CD20+CD2- B cells. However, planned post hoc comparisons showed that subjects in the companion condition exhibited a significantly smaller percent change from baseline than in the alone condition at the 24 h and 96 h sample periods in absolute numbers of CD4+CD8- and CD8+CD4- T cells. Results showed that adult female rhesus monkeys exhibited a profound stress response when removed from their social group to a novel environment and that recovery time of T cell subsets was significantly enhanced by the presence of a preferred companion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Female
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Immune Tolerance / immunology
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiopathology
  • Psychoneuroimmunology
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology


  • Hydrocortisone