Mortality and morbidity in laboratory-maintained Rhesus monkeys and effects of long-term dietary restriction

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2003 Mar;58(3):212-9. doi: 10.1093/gerona/58.3.b212.


Mortality and morbidity were examined in 117 laboratory-maintained rhesus monkeys studied over approximately 25 years (8 dietary-restricted [DR] and 109 ad libitum-fed [AL] monkeys). During the study, 49 AL monkeys and 3 DR monkeys died. Compared with the DR monkeys, the AL monkeys had a 2.6-fold increased risk of death. Hyperinsulinemia led to a 3.7-fold increased risk of death (p <.05); concordantly, the risk of death decreased by 7%, per unit increase in insulin sensitivity (M). There was significant organ pathology in the AL at death. The age at median survival in the AL was approximately 25 years compared with 32 years in the DR. The oldest monkey was a diabetic female (AL) that lived to be 40 years of age. These results suggest that dietary restriction leads to an increased average age of death in primates, associated with the prevention of hyperinsulinemia and the mitigation of age-related disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Caloric Restriction* / mortality
  • Diabetes Mellitus / mortality
  • Female
  • Hyperinsulinism / mortality
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Longevity*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Morbidity*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin