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J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2013 Nov;52(6):756-62.

Using snacks high in fat and protein to improve glucoregulatory function in adolescent male marmosets (Callithrix jacchus).

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Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), a laboratory nonhuman primate, is a well-known model of several human diseases and conditions, but the nutritional needs of these animals are not fully understood. Here we describe a 4-mo controlled study in which we increased the dietary fat and protein of subadult male common marmosets by using healthy snacks. Six male marmosets received their normal diet (control), and an additional 6 were given their normal diet supplemented daily with a 14-kcal snack. Cashews and waxworms were used as the snack, given their high-fat content. Although body weight did not differ between the 2 groups, only control male marmosets showed increased chest circumferences over the course of the study. Glucoregulatory function remained consistent in the snack-fed marmosets, whereas control animals had progressed toward higher insulin. Other indices of glucoregulation indicated significant differences in adiponectin and the cortisol:cortisone ratio between the 2 groups, but no differences in lipid concentration were detected. Therefore, the most notable difference attributable to the snack feeding was improved glucoregulation. Because the snacks we used had a high proportion of unsaturated compared with saturated fat, we suggest that these healthy high-fat-high-protein snacks provide an important contribution to the nutrition of this laboratory species. This study also demonstrates the utility of marmosets as a model for understanding the implications of dietary fats in humans.

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