Clinicopathologic characteristics, prevalence, and risk factors of spontaneous diabetes in sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys)

Amelia C. Jones, James G. Herndon, Cynthia L. Courtney, Lynn Collura, Joyce K. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In 2008, clinical observations in our colony of sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys) suggested a high frequency of type 2 diabetes. Postmortem studies of diabetic animals revealed dense amyloid deposits in pancreatic islets. To investigate these findings, we screened our colony (97 male mangabeys; 99 female mangabeys) for the disease from 2008 to 2012. The overall prevalence of diabetes was 11% and of prediabetes was 7%, which is nearly double that reported for other primate species (less than 6%). Fructosamine and triglyceride levels were the best indicators of diabetes; total cholesterol and glycated hemoglobin were not associated with disease. Increasing age was a significant risk factor: prevalence increased from 0% in infants, juveniles, and young adults to 11% in adults and 19% in geriatric mangabeys. Sex, medroxyprogesterone acetate exposure, and SIV status were unrelated to disease. Weight was marginally higher in prediabetics, but body condition did not indicate obesity. Of the 49 mangabeys that were necropsied after clinical euthanasia or death from natural causes, 22 were diabetic; all 22 animals demonstrated pancreatic amyloid, and most had more than 75% of islets replaced with amyloid. We conclude that type 2 diabetes is more common in mangabeys than in other primate species. Diabetes in mangabeys has some unusual pathologic characteristics, including the absence of altered cholesterol levels and glycated hemoglobin but a robust association of pancreatic insular amyloidosis with clinical diabetes. Future research will examine the genetic basis of mangabey diabetes and evaluate additional diagnostic tools using imaging and serum markers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-210
Number of pages11
JournalComparative medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


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