Cynomolgus Monkeys (Macaca fascicularis)
The cynomolgus colony is designed to produce specific pathogen free (SPF) cynomolgus monkeys for use in biomedical research. The colony, supported by a recently funded grant from the NCRR, addresses the growing need for investigators to use in their protocols animals defined for the absence of specific diseases including CHV-1 (“Herpes B”), simian immunodeficiency virus, and simian retroviruses.
At present this colony is in the process of being expanded from the 25 individuals that were used in a “demonstration” colony to the full 100 breeding animals that will comprise the mature colony during its initial period of support from the NCRR. While the initial animals were obtained from a variety of sources, the majority of founder animals are being made available by the Washington National Primate Research Center through diversion of a portion of its yearly allotment of animals from the Tinjil Island (Indonesia) breeding facility.
The SPF cynomolgus colony is in its formative stage. Management of the SPF Macaca fascicularis breeding colony will be optimized for reproductive performance and derivation of CHV-1 negative offspring. A significant advantage is accrued in utilizing animals already negative for TB, SRV, STLV, and SIV as breeding founders. Given this situation, management protocols are formulated to insure the ability to produce maximal numbers of negative animals. As part of this process, founders will be housed apart from the SPF progeny.
Our long-term experience indicates that removal of offspring at approximately 6 months minimizes the chances for CHV-1 vertical transmission, while still providing sufficient maternal care to insure future health and psychological wellbeing. Once removed from the dams, young monkeys will be placed in small peer groups that are spatially isolated from each other. Routine testing will identify any animals that convert to CHV-1 positive status; these will be removed from the colony. At two years of age, the SPF female progeny will be placed together with CHV-1 negative males in harems to establish an F1 breeding population that is CHV-1 free.
An additional important characteristic of this colony is that, unlike many breeding colonies, the NHPs will be fed two defined diets. The first diet is a soy-free diet, not commercial monkey chow. The second diet has the same macronutrients but the protein source is from soy, similar in isoflavone content. A drawback of chow diets is that the exact nutritional product composition is unknown from lot to lot. However, they are always rich in soy bean meal, isoflavones, and other constituents of soy bean meal that are known confounders of several types of research projects.