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Open Access Vitamin A Toxicity in Wild-caught African Green Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops) after 2 Years in Captivity

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Primate lab diets typically contain high vitamin A concentrations when compared with human recommended intakes. In this study, we analyzed the vitamin A contents of liver and serum from 13 adult female African green vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops). These monkeys were wild-caught and held in captivity for 2 y, during which time they consumed a standard primate diet. Liver vitamin A concentration (mean ± 1 standard deviation) was 14.6 ± 2.3 mol retinol/g liver; subtoxicity in humans is defined as at least 1 mol/g liver. The serum retinol concentration (0.93 ± 0.21 M) was not elevated. Hypertrophy and hyperplasia of hepatic stellate cells were present which, in conjunction with elevated hepatic vitamin A concentrations, are evidence of toxicity. Although the ramifications of chronically toxic vitamin A status in experimental monkeys have not been defined, this state may influence nonhuman primate research outcomes and confound data interpretation. The validity of bone mineral research using nonhuman primates is of greatest concern, in light of the association between vitamin A toxicity and compromised bone health.

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: October 1, 2006

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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