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Characterization and Heritability of Obesity and Associated Risk Factors in Vervet Monkeys
Article first published online: 6 SEP 2012
2007 North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO)
Volume 15, Issue 7, pages 1666–1674, July 2007
How to Cite
Kavanagh, K., Fairbanks, L. A., Bailey, J. N., Jorgensen, M. J., Wilson, M., Zhang, L., Rudel, L. L. and Wagner, J. D. (2007), Characterization and Heritability of Obesity and Associated Risk Factors in Vervet Monkeys. Obesity, 15: 1666–1674. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.199
- Issue published online: 6 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 6 SEP 2012
- Received for review July 12, 2006, Accepted in final from December 16, 2006
- animal models;
- insulin resistance;
- metabolic syndrome
Objective: The objective was to determine the prevalence and heritability of obesity and risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome (MS) in a pedigreed colony of vervet monkeys.
Design: A cross-sectional study of plasma lipid and lipoprotein concentrations, glycemic indices, and morphometric measures with heritability calculated from pedigree analysis. A selected population of females was additionally assessed for insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
Subjects: All mature male (n = 98), pregnant (n = 40) and non-pregnant female (n = 157) vervet monkeys were included in the study. Seven non-pregnant females were selected on the basis of high or average glycated hemoglobin (GHb) for further characterization of carbohydrate metabolism.
Measurements: Morphometric measurements included body weight, length, waist circumference, and calculated BMI. Plasma lipids [total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C)] and glycemic measures (fasting blood glucose, insulin, and GHb) were measured. A homeostasis model assessment index was further reported. Glucose tolerance testing and hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps were performed on 7 selected females.
Conclusion: Vervet monkeys demonstrate obesity, insulin resistance, and associated changes in plasma lipids even while consuming a low-fat (chow) diet. Furthermore, these parameters are heritable. Females are at particular risk for central obesity and an unfavorable lipid profile (higher TG, TC, and no estrogen-related increase in HDL-C). Selection of females by elevated GHb indicated impaired glucose tolerance and was associated with central obesity. This colony provides a unique opportunity to study the development of obesity-related disorders, including both genetic and environmental influences, across all life stages.