Osteoarthritis in cynomolgus macaques: A primate model of naturally occurring disease

Cathy S. Carlson, Richard F. Loeser, Manuel J. Jayo, David S. Weaver, Michael R. Adams, Christopher P. Jerome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


The objective of the present study was to determine if naturally occurring osteoarthritis of the knee joints that is similar to the condition in humans develops in cynomolgus macaques. Knee joints from 58 young adult (mean age, 7.4 years) female cynomolgus macaques were studies with x‐ray densitometry, high‐detail radiography, and histology. The animals studied were subjects in a triad designed to examine the effects of the administration of sex steroids on atherosclerosis; except for a control group, the monkeys had been either ovariectomized or treated with sex steroids for 2 years. Therefore, the data were analyzed to determine if these treatments, both of which can influence bone density, affected the severity of osteoarthritis. There was a high prevalence of osteoarthritic lesions, morphologically similar to those seen in humans. Bone changes were more common and severe than cartilage changes and morphologically appeared to precede the cartilage changes. Treatment with testosterone resulted in increased body weight, body mass index, and bone mineral content in the femur and tibia but did not affect the severity of osteoarthritis. These data indicate that naturally occurring osteoarthritis developed in the knee joints of cynomolgus macaques; these animals may be a useful model for the study of osteoarthritis in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1994


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