Establishing non-human primate models of human diseases is an efficient way to narrow the large gap between basic studies and translational medicine. Multifold advantages such as simplicity of breeding, low cost of feeding and facility of operating make the tree shrew an ideal non-human primate model proxy. Additional features like vulnerability to stress and spontaneous diabetic characteristics also indicate that the tree shrew could be a potential new animal model of human diseases. However, basal physiological indexes of tree shrew, especially those related to human disease, have not been systematically reported. Accordingly, we established important basal physiological indexes of domesticated tree shrews including several factors: (1) body weight, (2) core body temperature and rhythm, (3) diet metabolism, (4) locomotor rhythm, (5) electroencephalogram, (6) glycometabolism and (7) serum and urinary hormone level and urinary cortisol rhythm. We compared the physiological parameters of domesticated tree shrew with that of rats and macaques. Results showed that (a) the core body temperature of the tree shrew was 39.59±0.05 ℃, which was higher than that of rats and macaques; (b) Compared with wild tree shrews, with two activity peaks, domesticated tree shrews had only one activity peak from 17:30 to 19:30; (c) Compared with rats, tree shrews had poor carbohydrate metabolism ability; and (d) Urinary cortisol rhythm indicated there were two peaks at 8:00 and 17:00 in domesticated tree shrews, which matched activity peaks in wild tree shrews. These results provided basal physiological indexes for domesticated tree shrews and laid an important foundation for diabetes and stress-related disease models established on tree shrews.
Keywords: Basal physiological indexes; Domesticated tree shrew; Glycometabolism; Rhythm; Stress-related hormone.