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Comp Med. 2001 Feb;51(1):60-9.

Hematologic and blood biochemical variables of captive chimpanzees: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses.

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  • 1Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Hematologic and blood biochemical variables are of great importance in medical and veterinary practice. In addition, these analytes may have significance as potential biomarkers of aging. Previous reports on normative values of these variables in the chimpanzees are based on cross-sectional studies that did not include individuals of advanced age. To address this omission, we performed cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of hematologic and blood biochemical data collected from chimpanzees over a 9-year period. One-hundred forty-six females and 106 males of ages representing the entire life span of the species were studied. We derived normative cross-sectional values of 14 commonly measured hematologic and 20 blood biochemical variables, which should provide a useful reference for clinical blood studies in chimpanzees. In addition, we found in a cross-sectional regression analysis of our data that most analytes varied significantly between males and females, and that they varied markedly with age. Most variables had year-to-year consistency within the same individuals, as indicated by statistically significant intra-year correlation coefficients. Finally, we performed a longitudinal analysis of the analytes in chimpanzees by calculating the slopes and intercepts of the best-fitting trend line for each individual. The resulting slopes were analyzed by sex and by decade of age of subjects to determine whether trends were consistent. Consistent trends detected in the longitudinal analysis were usually restricted to the first decade of life, and thus represented maturational processes. The overall lack of within-animal trends covering all or most of the period from early adulthood through old age in this 9-year study suggests that a longer period of follow-up than used here may be required to document senescence-related changes.

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