Kaneko, A., Takasu, M., Miyabe-Nishiwaki, T. et al. 2021. Physiological variation in Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) housed in different outdoor cages evaluated using the metabolic profile test. Primates 62(4), 609-615.
Captive primates require environmental enrichment to minimize physical and mental stress. However, only a few objective evaluations have been performed to assess environment-induced physiological variations in these animals. In this study, we evaluated the usage of the metabolic profile test (MPT) to assess the influences of the housing environment on the physiology of Japanese macaques. Five male macaques were housed in an old type of cage (old cage group), in which the macaques were exposed to wind (except for a shelter box), and four males were in a new -type of cage (new cage group), which had a sub-room with a waterer that was surrounded by insulating panels. Blood samples were collected bimonthly for a year from the two groups to determine the complete blood count and blood biochemistry. The increase in the body weight of the macaques in both groups was suppressed during the cold season. Furthermore, this suppression was more pronounced in the old cage group, suggesting that the energy expenditure was higher in the old cage group than in the new cage group. Moreover, the red blood cell count and hematocrit values were higher during the cold season in both cages than during the warm season, suggesting that macaques were dehydrated during the cold season. Dehydration tendency was more pronounced in the macaques from the old cage group than in those from the new cage group, suggesting that their water intake decreased during the cold season. Our results suggest that the MPT can be used to evaluate environment-induced physiological variations in Japanese macaques.