Behavioral inhibition is associated with airway hyperresponsiveness but not atopy in a monkey model of asthma

John P. Capitanio, Lisa Miller, Edward S Schelegle, Sally P. Mendoza, William A. Mason, Dallas M. Hyde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether indicators of behavioral inhibition and cortisol responses to stressful situations, obtained in infancy, were associated with asthma-related measures (atopy and airway hyperresponsiveness [AHR]) approximately 2 years later. Methods: Measures reflecting inhibited temperament and cortisol response after a 25-hour separation from mother and relocation to a novel room were obtained for 21 rhesus monkeys (mean age, 109 days; range, 91-122 days). Inhibited temperament was measured by reduced emotionality and increased vigilance. Atopy and AHR were assessed after 2 years (age range, 19-35 months) using skin tests to common aeroallergens and inhaled methacholine challenge, respectively. Results: No associations were found between atopy and either behavioral inhibition or cortisol levels (p > .56). Low emotionality was associated with AHR (r = 0.47, p = .03), and a trend was found for blunted cortisol responsiveness and AHR (r = 0.42, p = .06). Conclusions: Inhibited temperament and blunted cortisol responsiveness may be related to the development of AHR that is common to both nonatopic and atopic asthma phenotypes and may indicate risk for nonatopic asthma specifically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-294
Number of pages7
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2011


  • airway hyperresponsiveness
  • Asthma
  • atopy
  • behavioral inhibition
  • cortisol
  • temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


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