Action for Primates

Long-tailed macaques, photo by Sarah Kite
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Experiments Using Non-human Primates, Published in 2020

In our news or take action pages, we report on the types of research to which non-human primates are being subjected. Bear in mind that these reports comprise only a few of the dozens of similar experiments published each week. See elsewhere for examples from previous years.

For the current year, choose Resources > Research on non-human primates from the main menu.

Although we emphasise welfare issues with respect to how the research impacted on the individuals, please bear in mind that the non-human primates used were all essentially wild animals, even if bred in captivity. Because of this, the suffering and stress of being in captivity was inherent in every case.

You can find out more information on all grants made by the National Institutes of Health, the largest funding entity in the US, and all their agencies by using the NIH RePORTER. You can search by grant number, investigator, recipient institution and more (see instructions).

2020-12-01: "Remdesivir (GS-5734) is Efficacious in Cynomolgus Macaques Infected with Marburg Virus" Porter, Danielle P.; Weidner, Jessica M.; Gomba, Laura; Bannister, Roy; Blair, Christiana; Jordan, Robert; Wells, Jay; Wetzel, Kelly; Garza, Nicole;Van Tongeren, Sean; Donnelly, Ginger; Steffens, Jesse; Moreau, Alicia; Bearss, Jeremy; Lee, Eric; Bavari, Sina; Cihlar, Tomas and Warren, Travis K. The Journal of Infectious Diseases 222(11):1894-1901.

This experiment was carried out to study the effectiveness of remdesivir in macaques deliberately infected with Marburg virus, some of whom were left untreated. Remdesivir is an antiviral drug developed by Gilead Sciences, and, according to a conflict of interest statement, five of the authors of the paper were current or former employees and may be shareholders in the company. The remaining authors were from the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and The Geneva Foundation. The research was funded by taxpayer money. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-12-01: "Changes in audiometric threshold and frequency selectivity correlate with cochlear histopathology in macaque monkeys with permanent noise-induced hearing loss" Burton, Jane A.; Mackey, Chase A.; MacDonald, Kaitlyn S.; Hackett, Troy A. and Ramachandran, Ramnarayan. Hearing Research 398:108082.

This study was carried out at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, supported by public funds and approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The monkeys were used as an 'animal model' for noise-induced hearing loss. They were deliberately subjected to extremely loud noise of 141 or 146 dB with the intent to cause hearing impairment and cochlear damage to then assess their 'performance' on various audio-based 'tasks'. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-11-26: "The Faster-Onset Antidepressant Effects of Hypidone Hydrochloride (YL-0919) in Monkeys Subjected to Chronic Unpredictable Stress" Yin, Yong-Yu; Tian, Chao-Yang; Fang, Xin-Xin; Shang, Chao; Zhang, Li-Ming; Xu, Qiang and Li, Yun-Feng. Frontiers in Pharmacology 11:586879.

In this work, a group of 16 female long-tailed macaques were subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment in an attempt to simulate depression with chronic unpredictable stress (CUS), and then to study the effects of drugs. The chronic stressors included food and water deprivation, space restriction and restraint, loud noise, strobe light, and intimidation with fake snakes. The work was approved by and done at the Beijing Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Beijing in China. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-11-01: "Neonatal temperament and neuromotor differences are predictive of adolescent alcohol intake in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)" Wood, Elizabeth K.; Champoux, Maribeth; Lindell, Stephen G.; Barr, Christina S.; Suomi, Stephen J. and Higley, J. Dee. American Journal of Primatology 82(11):e23043.

The work, purportedly to identify …predictors of [human] teenage alcohol use disorder…, was done at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Maryland, USA, and supported primarily by public funds. The research involved 145 laboratory-born rhesus macaques (64 females, 81 males), …housed at the Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development colony as part of an ongoing, longitudinal study investigating genetic and environmental influences on neurobiology and behavior as they relate to alcohol consumption. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-11-01: Strelchenko, Nick S.; Schmidt, Jenna Kropp; Mean, Katherine D.; Schotzko, Michele L.; Golos, Thaddeus G. and Slukvin, Igor I. "Cryopreservation of Mauritian Cynomolgus Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) Sperm in Chemically Defined Medium" Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science 59(6):681-686.

Monkeys from Mauritius have been used in research in the USA in which male long-tailed macaques were subjected to penile electrical stimulation while under sedation to collect sperm. Female long-tailed macaques were injected multiple times (twice-daily, by intramuscular injection, for 11 to 12 days) with recombinant human follicle stimulating hormone and once with human chorionic gonadotropin in order to cause ovarian hyperstimulation. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is an exaggerated response to excess hormones and can cause the ovaries to swell and become painful. Eggs (oocytes) were retrieved by laparoscopic aspiration [incision into the abdomen and use of steel needle to withdraw eggs] between 38 to 40 h after the [human chorionic gonadotropin] injection. Fertilisation was subsequently achieved in 12 out of 15 oocytes. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-11-01: "Mediterranean diet, stress resilience, and aging in nonhuman primates" Shively, Carol A.; Appt, Susan E.; Chen, Haiying; Day, Stephen M.; Frye, Brett M.; Shaltout, Hossam A.; Silverstein-Metzler, Marnie G.; Snyder-Mackler, Noah; Uberseder, Beth; Vitolins, Mara Z. and Register, Thomas C. Neurobiology of Stress 13:100254.

Forty-three female long-tailed macaques were subjected to the stress of laboratory conditions in order to study the diet of human beings, at Wake Forest School of Medicine, North Carolina. It was largely funded by the taxpayer and was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-11-01: "Mifepristone decreases chronic voluntary ethanol consumption in rhesus macaques" Jimenez, Vanessa A.; Walter, Nicole A.R.; Shnitko, Tatiana A.; Newman, Natali P.; Diem, Kaya; Vanderhooft, Lauren; Hunt, Hazel J. and Grant, Kathleen A. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 375(2):258-267.

This study provides a disturbing insight into the kind of ethanol (alcohol) research to which monkeys are being subjected at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) and paid for entirely with public funds (National Institutes of Health). It was approved by the institutional animal use committee of the ONPRC. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-10-26: "Over-activation of primate subgenual cingulate cortex enhances the cardiovascular, behavioral and neural responses to threat" Alexander, Laith; Wood, Christian M.; Gaskin, Philip L.R.; Sawiak, Stephen J.; Fryer, Tim D.; Hong, Young T.; McIver, Lauren; Clarke, Hannah F. and Roberts, Angela C. Nature Communications 11(1):5386.

In an attempt to mimic stress-related disorders in people, such as depression and anxiety, marmosets were subjected to surgery, held in small boxes and confronted with threatening situations, including a rubber 'snake' (snakes are natural predators of marmosets), a human intruder and threatening sounds. Drugs were given to see the effects on the animals' behaviour. The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council (MRC) and took place at the University of Cambridge in the UK. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-10-07: "Corticocortical and Thalamocortical Changes in Functional Connectivity and White Matter Structural Integrity after Reward-Guided Learning of Visuospatial Discriminations in Rhesus Monkeys" Pelekanos, Vassilis; Premereur, Elsie; Mitchell, Daniel J.; Chakraborty, Subhojit; Mason, Stuart; Lee, Andy C.H. and Mitchell, Anna S. The Journal of Neuroscience 40(41):7887-7901.

This research was carried out at the University of Oxford. It also involved researchers from KU Leuven as well as other UK institutions (University of Cambridge and University College London), and Canada (University of Toronto and Rotman Research Institute). The work was approved by the University of Oxford Animal Care and Ethical Review Committee and was supported by the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust. The stated aim of the research was to understand the neural mechanisms that support the learning of visuospatial information (a person's capacity to identify visual and spatial relationships among objects). See elsewhere for more information.

2020-08-07: "Effects of low intensity ambient lighting on refractive development in infant rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)" She, Zhihui; Hung, Li-Fang; Arumugam, Baskar; Beach, Krista M. and Smith, Earl L. Vision Research 176:48-59.

This research involved rearing infant monkeys in low intensity lighting to find out whether it causes myopia (near-sightedness). The work was carried out at the University of Houston in the USA and involved researchers from the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Australia, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation. It was supported by public funds (the National Institutes of Health, the Brien Holden Vision Institute and the University of Houston Foundation). The research was approved by the University of Houston animal use and care committee. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-08-01: "Transient-mixed Chimerism With Nonmyeloablative Conditioning Does Not Induce Liver Allograft Tolerance in Nonhuman Primates" Chaudhry, Sulemon; Kato, Yojiro; Weiner, Joshua; Alonso-Guallart, Paula; Baker, Sam; Woodland, David C.; Lefkowitch, Jay H.; Duran-Struuck, Raimon; Sondermeijer, Hugo P.; Zitsman, Jonah; Sears, Mallory L.; Wu, Anette; Karolewski, Brian; Houck, Philipp J.; Martinez, Mercedes; Kato, Tomoaki; Sykes, Megan and Griesemer, Adam D. Transplantation 104(8):1580-1590.

This research took place at Columbia University in New York. It was supported by the US taxpayer and was approved by the Columbia University institutional animal care and use committee. Fourteen long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis; from Charles River Primates, Wilmington, MA) were used; seven as 'donors', seven as recipients. In order to 'condition' the monkeys for liver transplant surgery, all 14 animals were subjected to massive irradiation in order to disrupt their immune system. This included the entire body and the thymus (a gland involved in the immune system). They were further immunocompromised by being poisoned with a compound that destroys T-cells (the compound was a Pfizer drug called ATGAM®) and metabolic toxin (cyclosporine; used to treat cancer by destroying certain immune cells). Some monkeys also received further drug treatment in order to alter their immune response. After the monkeys were 'conditioned', they were subjected to substantial intervention and complex surgery to remove the liver and bone marrow from 'donors' and implant into the recipients. This resulted in all the 'donor' monkeys being killed on the surgery table. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-07-22: "Cortical, Corticospinal, and Reticulospinal Contributions to Strength Training" Glover, Isabel S. and Baker, Stuart N. The Journal of Neuroscience 40(30):5820-5832.

The work was done at the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University in the UK, approved by the Animal Welfare and Research Ethics Board of Newcastle University and funded by the Wellcome Trust and Reece Foundation. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-07-02: "Infant Rhesus Macaque Brain α-Tocopherol Stereoisomer Profile Is Differentially Impacted by the Source of α-Tocopherol in Infant Formula" Kuchan, Matthew J.; Ranard, Katherine M.; Dey, Priyankar; Jeon, Sookyoung; Sasaki, Geoff Y.; Schimpf, Karen J.; Bruno, Richard S.; Neuringer, Martha and Erdman, John W. The Journal of Nutrition 150(9):2305-2313.

This research was a cruel and shocking waste of life. Twenty-three female monkeys suffered the trauma and loss of having their babies taken from them and 23 baby monkeys were purposefully killed at just 6 months of age for a human infant formula that is already on the market. The study involved Abbott Nutrition infant formula products and was funded by Abbott Nutrition and the US taxpayer (National Institutes of Health). See elsewhere for more information.

2020-06-30: "Auditory representation of learned sound sequences in motor regions of the macaque brain" Archakov, Denis; DeWitt, Iain; Kuśmierek, Paweł; Ortiz-Rios, Michael; Cameron, Daniel; Cui, Ding; Morin, Elyse L.; VanMeter, John W.; Sams, Mikko; Jääskeläinen, Iiro P. and Rauschecker, Josef P. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117(26):15242-15252.

The work was carried out at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, but also involved researchers from Finland (Aalto University School of Science). As with virtually all research on non-consenting beings, it was approved by an institutional committee, in this case the Georgetown University Animal Care and Use Committee. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-06-06: "The Intriguing Effects of Substituents in the N-Phenethyl Moiety of Norhydromorphone: A Bifunctional Opioid from a Set of "Tail Wags Dog" Experiments" Wang, Meining; Irvin, Thomas C.; Herdman, Christine A.; Hanna, Ramsey D.; Hassan, Sergio A.; Lee, Yong-Sok; Kaska, Sophia; Crowley, Rachel Saylor; Prisinzano, Thomas E.; Withey, Sarah L.; Paronis, Carol A.; Bergman, Jack; Inan, Saadet; Geller, Ellen B.; Adler, Martin W.; Kopajtic, Theresa A.; Katz, Jonathan L.; Chadderdon, Aaron M.; Traynor, John R.; Jacobson, Arthur E. and Rice, Kenner C. Molecules 25(11):E2640.

An unknown number of male squirrel monkeys were used in this publicly funded research at the McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts, USA. The monkeys were subjected to what is called the tail withdrawal latency assay to look at behaviour and the effect of opioids in blocking the detection of pain. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-06-05: "Evaluation of canine teeth crown reduction technique in macaques" Kim, Su-Mi and Kim, Jong-Min. Laboratory Animal Research 36:16.

Researchers in Korea, who support the reduction of canine teeth in non-human primates, have subjected 10 male macaques (8 rhesus and 2 long-tailed) to major mutilations of canine teeth to study the impact of the surgery. This recently published work was carried out at the Biomedical Research Institute at the Seoul National University Hospital, South Korea and was approved by their Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-06-01: "Placental fatty acid transport across late gestation in a baboon model of intrauterine growth restriction" Chassen, Stephanie S.; Ferchaud-Roucher, Veronique; Palmer, Claire; Li, Cun; Jansson, Thomas; Nathanielsz, Peter W. and Powell, Theresa L. The Journal of Physiology 598(12):2469-2489.

This was publicly funded research at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, to look at the effects of a nutrient restricted diet on the foetuses of pregnant baboons. After being fed such a deficient or control diet, 42 baboons had their uterus cut open under anaesthesia. The 42 unborn foetuses, some near full term, were killed while still attached to their mother. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-05-21: "Effect of Delaying Treatment on Efficacy of Ciprofloxacin and Levofloxacin in the African Green Monkey Model of Pneumonic Plague" Campbell, Joseph L.; Fay, Michael P.; Lanning, Lynda L, and Hewitt, Judith A. Clinical Infectious Diseases 70(Supplement_1):S60-S65.

This research was funded by the taxpayer and took place at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rockville, Maryland, USA. Seventy-nine African green monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops) were used. They were all infected with a known lethal dose of the pneumonic plague bacterium through inhalation in a head-only aerosol exposure chamber. The animals were divided into two groups, each group receiving either ciprofloxacin or levofloxacin as a treatment. Each group also contained eight monkeys who acted as a 'control' and received no treatment. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-05-11: "Abnormal Tuning in Nucleus Prepositus Hypoglossi of Monkeys With "A" Pattern Exotropia" Pallus, Adam and Walton, Mark M.G. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 61(5):45.

This study was done at the Washington National Primate Research Center in Seattle, using public funds and was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at University of Washington. Three infant rhesus macaques were used. Two had muscles to their eyes cut during their first week of life to make them have strabismus (misalignment of the eyes, commonly known as 'squint'); the third was the normal 'control'. Once the monkeys were older (at around 3 years), they were subjected to surgery to implant head posts and recording chambers for brain electrodes, all into the skull. They also had scleral search coils surgically implanted into both eyes (under the conjunctiva) to measure eye movement. The head posts allowed the head to be restrained during experiments. The experiment involved using visual stimuli and recording what went on in the brain. The monkeys were killed at the end of the experiments. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-05-05: "In utero MRI identifies consequences of early-gestation alcohol drinking on fetal brain development in rhesus macaques" Wang, Xiaojie; Carlson, Verginia C. Cuzon; Studholme, Colin; Newman, Natali; Ford, Matthew M.; Grant, Kathleen A. and Kroenke, Christopher D. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117(18):10035-10044.

This was publicly funded research at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, to look at the impact of drinking alcohol in early pregnancy in an attempt to simulate human foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Rhesus macaques induced to binge drink (roughly 6-7 alcoholic drinks, an amount known to cause intoxication in people) every day from before becoming pregnant and through the first trimester of pregnancy. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-04-08: "Evaluation of the reinforcing strength of phendimetrazine using a progressive-ratio schedule of reinforcement in rhesus monkeys" Minkiewciz, Molly; Czoty, Paul W.; Blough, Bruce E. and Nader, Michael A. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

This experiment was carried out in the USA on rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), who were used as a representation for human addiction, to see if a test drug (which produces similar effects to cocaine) reduced cocaine self-administration. Aside from the immorality of using non-human primates in such despicable research, the complex combination of factors involved in human addiction - including genetics, emotional and personal experiences, socioeconomic factors - can never be simulated in others. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-01-18: "Neuroprotectants attenuate hypobaric hypoxia-induced brain injuries in cynomolgus monkeys" Zhang, Pei; Chen, Jie-Si; Li, Qi-Ye; Sheng, Long-Xiang; Gao, Yi-Xing; Lu, Bing-Zheng; Zhu, Wen-Bo; Zhan, Xiao-Yu; Li, Yuan; Yuan, Zhi-Bing; Xu, Gang; Qiu, Bi-Tao; Yan, Min; Guo, Chun-Xue; Wang, You-Qiong; Huang, Yi-Jun; Zhang, Jing-Xia; Liu, Fu-Yu; Tang, Zhong-Wei; Lin, Sui-Zhen; Cooper, David N.; Yang, Huan-Ming; Wang, Jian; Gao, Yu-Qi; Yin, Wei; Zhang, Guo-Jie and Yan, Guang-Mei. Zoological Research 41(1):3-19.

The work was done at the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China. Eighteen long-tailed macaques were subjected to hypobaric hypoxia when forced into high altitude research that simulated travelling rapidly up to 7,500 metres (over four miles), thus reducing the concentration of available oxygen. Hypobaric hypoxia is a condition where the body is deprived of oxygen, causing severe brain injury and abnormal behaviour. See elsewhere for more information.

2020-01-01: "Development of a novel alcohol and nicotine concurrent access (ANCA) self-administration procedure in baboons" Holtyn, August F.; Davis, Catherine M. and Weerts, Elise M. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 206:107665.

Not satisfied with forcing baboons to become dependent only on alcohol to try to simulate human behaviour and addiction, these researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are now using baboons in an attempt to mimic human nicotine and alcohol co-use and to look at the effects of the drug varenicline on such use. See elsewhere for more information.