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J Med Primatol. 2006 Feb;35(1):30-7.

Characterization of obesity in Japanese monkeys (Macaca fuscata) in a pedigreed colony.

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Center for Human Evolution Modeling Research, Kyoto University, Inuyama, Japan.



Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata, is recognized as the monkey species inhabiting the northernmost area in the world, and thus likely to possess unique fat-depositing mechanisms to resist cold weather in winter. We report that obese females are present in the Wakasa group of Japanese monkey reared in an open enclosure of the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University.


Eight of 12 females were categorized as obese, showing percentage body fat of over 22%. The levels of serum leptin (mean +/- SD, 4.9 +/- 2.3 ng/ml) measured in these obese monkeys were significantly higher than those of non-obese peers of the same group (n = 4; 1.2 +/- 0.5 ng/ml) and another Japanese monkey group (Takahama, n = 14; 0.8 +/- 0.25 ng/ml); however, serum levels of adiponectin, insulin, glucose, hemoglobin A1c, and fructosamine did not differ between obese and non-obese monkeys. Few serum lipid parameters such as triglyceride and cholesterol showed lower levels in obese monkeys than their non-obese peers.


These results show that these obese monkeys in the Wakasa group have not developed obesity-related diseases/disorders such as diabetes. In the Wakasa group, the frequency of obese individuals was high in some maternal lineages, suggesting that genetic factors responsible for obesity may have been inherited in these lineages.

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