Idiopathic Microscopic Colitis of Rhesus Macaques: Quantitative Assessment of Colonic Mucosa


Correspondence to: Amir Ardeshir, California National Primate Research Center, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616. Fax: (530) 752–2880. E-mail:


Idiopathic chronic diarrhea (ICD) is a common cause of morbidity and mortality among juvenile rhesus macaques. While lesions may be absent at colonoscopy, the histopathologic evaluation of the biopsy specimens is consistent with human macroscopic colitis (MC). In this study, we developed an isotropic uniform random sampling method to evaluate macroscopic and microscopic changes and applied it on proximal ascending colon in monkeys. Colonic tissue and peripheral blood specimens were collected from six MC and six control juvenile macaques at necropsy. Uniform random samples were collected from the colon using punch biopsy tools. The volume of epithelium and lamina propria were estimated in thick (25 µm) sections using point probes and normalized to the area of muscularis mucosae. Our data suggests a significant increase of the Vs of the lamina propria (1.9-fold, P = 0.02) and epithelium (1.4-fold, P = 0.05) in subjects with MC. The average colonic surface mucosa area in the MC monkeys increased 1.4-fold over the controls (P = 0.02). The volume of the proximal colon in animals with MC showed a 2.4-fold increase over the non-diarrhea control monkeys (P = 0.0001). Cytokine, chemokine, and growth factor levels in peripheral blood were found to be correlated with the volume estimate of the lamina propria and epithelium. We found that ICD in macaques has features which simulates human MC and can be used as a spontaneous animal model for human MC. Furthermore, this developed sampling method can be used for unbiased preclinical evaluation of therapeutics in this animal model. Anat Rec, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.