Fante, F., Baldan, N., De Benedictis, G. M. et al. 2012. Refinement of a macaque transplantation model: application of a subcutaneous port as a means for long-term enteral drug administration and nutritional supplementation. Laboratory Animals 46(2), 114-121.
A new application of a device enabling the long-term enteral administration of drugs or nutritional supplementation was developed for implementing in research entailing the use of macaques (Macaca fascicularis). After implanting a subcutaneous port, a surgically-placed gastrostomy (SPG) was completed to afford access to the gastric lumen and enable the administration of substances. In this study, the device was left in place for a period ranging between two and 12 months in macaques (n= 16). In five cases, the SPG was used successfully for 8-12 months, until the experimental endpoint was reached. In six cases, the SPG had to be removed earlier due to local infection at the implant site, which promptly regressed after the SPG was removed and antibiotic treatment was administered. One SPG-implanted macaque was euthanized for reasons unrelated to the SPG or the xenotransplantation procedure. In four cases, the SPG was implanted without any complications but has yet to be used to administer substances to the animals. From an ethical standpoint, the SPG device described here minimizes the forced handling of macaques otherwise needed for the oral administration of viscous or unpalatable substances by gavage. The device thus represents an effective refinement that fully complies with the tenet of the '3 Rs' that should be considered by primate centres exposing non-human primates to the long-term daily administration of substances by oral gavage.