Special Resource Programs

special resources monkeysThe purpose of the Special Resource Programs is to ensure that the animal needs of the various research programs are met. The current programs are Aging Nonhuman Primates, Obese Nonhuman Primates and Japanese Macaque Resource.

The Aging Nonhuman Primate Resource provides animals necessary for research on the mechanisms of aging and age-related diseases, and is an important component of the Biology of Aging Program at the ONPRC and OHSU Healthy Aging Alliance.  This unique, highly translational resource is supported by ONPRC and also the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the latter through the Primate Aging Study program. The NIA recognized the need for a highly translatable model, similar to humans, to address the health concerns of the growing elderly population. Already the oldest baby-boomers have entered retirement, and accompanying the continued escalation in the number of post-retirees, will be a transition of individuals into greater levels of fragility and chronic, progressive illnesses. Hence any therapies that can delay, diminish, and in some cases, cure maladies that are associated with advanced age, will be essential to mitigate health concerns in the elderly.

The Obese Nonhuman Primate Resource is comprised of three colonies of macaques that become obese when fed a high-fat/high-calorie diet (HF diet). The Japanese macaque model supports investigations on the effects of maternal diet and metabolic health on the development of metabolic systems in the offspring; the Rhesus macaque model is employed for studies testing pharmaceutical therapeutics for obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease; and the Cynomolgous macaque model supports research models that investigate metabolic disease in nonhuman primates.  All three models are used for research in the Metabolic Disease Working Group. These models are being expanded in an effort to understand the progression of the disease as well as to understand the full spectrum of complications that are associated with obesity.

The Japanese Macaque Resource (JMR) oversees the unique Japanese macaque (JM) captive breeding colony, initially established in 1965 with a gift of 55 animals from the Japanese government. This colony has propagated for more than 5 decades without the addition of new founders, evolving into a one-of-a-kind NHP resource, and producing unique genetic disease models not available in other NHP species or even other JM colonies. Prominent among the models is Japanese macaque encephalomyelitis (JME), a disease that recapitulates both the etiological and pathophysiological processes that occur in multiple sclerosis (MS) and related demyelinating diseases. To our knowledge, this disease only occurs in the ONPRC JM colony, providing an unprecedented opportunity to study the mechanisms underlying the onset of inflammatory demyelinating disease like MS. The JMR is also home to a unique NHP model of retinal disease that closely parallel human dominant drusen syndromes such as Malattia Leventinese/Doyne honeycomb dystrophy. In addition, the JMR produces the only NHP model of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, providing unprecedented opportunity to develop life-saving treatments for this devastating pediatric disease. The JMR oversees the careful management and characterization of these important models, while also insuring the long-term health and stability the JM colony.