Research Relevant Conditions and Pathology in Nonhuman Primates

ILAR J. 2020 Dec 31;61(2-3):139-166. doi: 10.1093/ilar/ilab017.


Biomedical research involving animal models continues to provide important insights into disease pathogenesis and treatment of diseases that impact human health. In particular, nonhuman primates (NHPs) have been used extensively in translational research due to their phylogenetic proximity to humans and similarities to disease pathogenesis and treatment responses as assessed in clinical trials. Microscopic changes in tissues remain a significant endpoint in studies involving these models. Spontaneous, expected (ie, incidental or background) histopathologic changes are commonly encountered and influenced by species, genetic variations, age, and geographical origin of animals, including exposure to infectious or parasitic agents. Often, the background findings confound study-related changes, because numbers of NHPs used in research are limited by animal welfare and other considerations. Moreover, background findings in NHPs can be exacerbated by experimental conditions such as treatment with xenobiotics (eg, infectious morphological changes related to immunosuppressive therapy). This review and summary of research-relevant conditions and pathology in rhesus and cynomolgus macaques, baboons, African green monkeys, common marmosets, tamarins, and squirrel and owl monkeys aims to improve the interpretation and validity of NHP studies.

Keywords: Aotus; Chlorocebus; Papio; Saimiri; macaque; marmoset; monkey diseases; pathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Models, Animal
  • Papio
  • Phylogeny
  • Primates*