Sex differences in glycosylated hemoglobin in Mauritian origin long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis)
Date of Degree Completion
Master of Science (MS)
R. Steven Wagner
Second Committee Member
Lori K. Sheeran
Third Committee Member
Diabetes is a common metabolic condition that affects the body’s ability to maintain normal glycemic control. This disease process can occur in primates. Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) range throughout Southeast Asia and were introduced to Mauritius approximately 400 years ago. This genetically unique population has been the source of a large proportion of captive individuals used in research and macaques are the preferred animal model for diabetic research. Additionally, long-tailed macaques are successful in exploiting habitat overlapping with humans. This urbanization results in changes in the normal diet of these animals which can contribute to poor health outcomes in populations. Similar to humans, spontaneous diabetes is a condition that develops in this species which can have significant health consequences for the affected animals. HbA1C % is a bloodwork parameter that is commonly used to diagnose and monitor diabetic animals. The HbA1C % determines the level of glycosylation occurring on the hemoglobin protein found in the red blood cells. The A1C Now+ System, manufactured by PTS Diagnostics, is a commercially available, portable, point-of-care device that is used to measure HbA1C%. This device has been validated for use in this species; however, there has been very little research on the applicability of the device for use in the health monitoring of wild nonhuman primates such as, Mauritian origin long-tailed macaques. Furthermore, sex differences in the results of this test have not been reported in this species but have been in such other mammals as chimpanzees, humans, and mice. Sixty-eight long-tailed macaques were sedated for a routine physical exam and HbA1C% was measured using the A1C Now+ device. Blood was also collected for the measurement of blood glucose, hemoglobin, red blood cell count and hematocrit. In our study population, males had significantly higher glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C) than females (p < 0.0001). Additionally, we found that HbA1C is positively correlated with hemoglobin, red blood cell count, and hematocrit, but sex did not have an impact on the correlations noted between HbA1C and Hb, HCT, and RBC. These results suggest that sex should be considered when assessing the health of a long-tailed macaque using the HbA1C test; for example, what is a normal value in a healthy male (6%) may be indicative of a pre-diabetic or diabetic female. This study confirms the utility of this device for the diagnosis and management of diabetes in captive and free ranging long-tailed macaques. Due to its small size and ease of use in the field, this device can be useful in monitoring the health of free-ranging monkeys that obtain food items that are highly processed, carbohydrate based and sugary. This type of diet is often encountered by macaques living sympatrically with humans. Captive individuals used in research and in zoos may also benefit from this data as the health of these individuals depends on the care provided by the staff.
Fernandes, Ricardo A., "Sex differences in glycosylated hemoglobin in Mauritian origin long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis)" (2018). All Master's Theses. 1055.