Glucocorticoid exposure predicts survival in female baboons
Campos, Fernando et al. (2021), Glucocorticoid exposure predicts survival in female baboons, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.547d7wm4b
Are differences in HPA axis activation across the adult lifespan linked to differences in survival? This question has been the subject of considerable debate. We analyze the link between survival and fecal glucocorticoid (GC) measures in a wild primate population, leveraging an unusually extensive longitudinal dataset of 14,173 GC measurements from 242 adult female baboons over 1,634 female-years. We document a powerful link between GCs and survival: females with relatively high current GCs or high lifelong cumulative GCs face an elevated risk of death. A hypothetical female who maintained GCs in the top 90% for her age across adulthood would be expected to lose 5.4 years of life relative to a female who maintained GCs in the bottom 10% for her age. Hence, differences among individuals in HPA axis activity provide valuable prognostic information about disparities in lifespan.