Serotonin transporter genotype modulates social reward and punishment in rhesus macaques.

Published

Journal Article

BACKGROUND: Serotonin signaling influences social behavior in both human and nonhuman primates. In humans, variation upstream of the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) has recently been shown to influence both behavioral measures of social anxiety and amygdala response to social threats. Here we show that length polymorphisms in 5-HTTLPR predict social reward and punishment in rhesus macaques, a species in which 5-HTTLPR variation is analogous to that of humans. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In contrast to monkeys with two copies of the long allele (L/L), monkeys with one copy of the short allele of this gene (S/L) spent less time gazing at face than non-face images, less time looking in the eye region of faces, and had larger pupil diameters when gazing at photos of a high versus low status male macaques. Moreover, in a novel primed gambling task, presentation of photos of high status male macaques promoted risk-aversion in S/L monkeys but promoted risk-seeking in L/L monkeys. Finally, as measured by a "pay-per-view" task, S/L monkeys required juice payment to view photos of high status males, whereas L/L monkeys sacrificed fluid to see the same photos. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These data indicate that genetic variation in serotonin function contributes to social reward and punishment in rhesus macaques, and thus shapes social behavior in humans and rhesus macaques alike.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Watson, KK; Ghodasra, JH; Platt, ML

Published Date

  • 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 4 / 1

Start / End Page

  • e4156 -

PubMed ID

  • 19142220

Pubmed Central ID

  • 19142220

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0004156

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States