The Rhesus Macaque as a Model of Human Aging and Age-Related Disease

Mary Ann Ottinger, Julie M. Wu, Julie A. Mattison, George S. Roth, Mark A. Lane, Donald K. Ingram, Mary B. Zelinski, Steven Kohama

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter explains how the rhesus monkey offers an advantageous model for biomedical research because of the close relatedness of this species to humans. In the rhesus macaque, there are Chinese- and Indian-derived monkeys, with the latter being most represented in the literature. These monkeys may be considered subspecies in that they differ somewhat in their physical characteristics. There are extensive data on the maintenance of the rhesus macaque in laboratory conditions as well as in outdoor pens. Metabolic endocrine systems show age-related changes that are similar to those experienced in humans, with increasing risk of prediabetic symptoms and changing metabolic function. Body composition in rhesus also parallels changes observed in humans. Cardiovascular disease poses a major threat to aging individuals. The rhesus monkey has been used extensively in the development of diagnostic methods for cardiovascular disease. Similar to humans, postural and structural changes occur associated with diminished bone mineral density in aging rhesus monkeys. Compared to the rhesus monkey, there is no other well-characterized animal model with such extensive similarity to humans across a wide range of physiological responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Models for Human Aging
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780123693914
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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