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Open Access The Effects of Fluoxetine and Buspirone on Self-Injurious and Stereotypic Behavior in Adult Male Rhesus Macaques

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The effects of two serotonergic agents—fluoxetine, a serotonin (5-HT) reuptake inhibitor, and buspirone, a 5-HT 1a agonist—on rates of self-injurious and stereotypic behavior were examined in 15 adult male Macaca mulatta. All animals received a placebo for 2 weeks followed by either buspirone or fluoxetine for 12 weeks. Behavior was monitored using a focal sampling technique throughout the study and for 2 weeks post-study. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples and body weights were obtained pre-study, at the ends of placebo and treatment phases, and post-study. Fluoxetine and buspirone were significantly effective in reducing rates of self-biting during treatment weeks 1 to 8 and self-directed stereotypic behavior during weeks 5 to 12 and post-treatment. No significant effect of either treatment on hair-plucking, stereotypic pacing, saluting, or head tossing was identified. The duration of neutral behavior increased, and rates of scratching and yawning decreased in the buspirone-treated condition. In the fluoxetine-treated condition, rates of yawning, scratching, and self-directed grooming were higher overall compared with those of buspirone-treated animals, and rates of scratching increased significantly (P < 0.05) in weeks 9 to 12; these findings suggest that animals in the fluoxetine-treated condition experienced higher levels of anxiety throughout the study. In both treatment conditions, concentrations of CSF 5-HIAA (5-HT metabolite) were significantly lower (P < 0.05) than placebo concentrations. Fluoxetine and buspirone may be efficacious for treatment of self-injurious and self-directed stereotypic behavior in macaques. Further studies are required to determine the optimal dosages and treatment length.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Louisiana at Lafayette—New Iberia Research Center, 4401 W. Admiral Doyle Drive, New Iberia, Louisiana 70560 2: National Institutes of Health, Section on Clinical and Biochemical Pharmacology, Bethesda, Maryland 20837 3: National Institutes of Health, Laboratory of Clinical Studies, NIH Animal Center, Poolsville, Maryland 20837

Publication date: 2005-02-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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