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Open Access Pulmonary Embolization of Fat and Bone Marrow in Cynomolgus Macaques (Macaca fascicularis)

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Fat embolization (FE), the introduction of bone marrow elements into circulation, is a known complication of bone fractures. Although FE has been described in other animal models, this study represents the first reported cases of FE and bone marrow embolism in nonhuman primates. Histopathologic findings from cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) indicated that in all 5 cases, fat and bone marrow embolization occurred subsequent to multiple bone marrow biopsies. In the most severe case, extensive embolization was associated pulmonary damage consistent with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Fat embolism syndrome (FES) is an infrequent clinical outcome of FE and is triggered by systemic biochemical and mechanical responses to fat in circulation. Although clinical criteria diagnostic of FES were not investigated at the time of death, this severe case may represent the fulminant form of FES, which occurs within 12 h after trauma. Bone marrow biopsy as an etiology of FES has been reported only once in humans. In addition, the association of embolization with bone marrow biopsies suggests that nonhuman primates may be a useful animal model of FE. FE and FES represent important research confounders and FES should be considered as a differential diagnosis for clinical complications subsequent to skeletal trauma.

Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: 1: Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington;, Email: DFong11@wanprc.org 2: Washington National Primate Research Center, Department of Comparative Medicine, University of Washington 3: Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington 4: Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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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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