Left ventricular hypertrophy in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) at the California national primate research center (1992-2014)

J. Rachel Reader, Don R. Canfield, Jennifer F. Lane, Sreetharan Kanthaswamy, Amir Ardeshir, A. Mark Allen, Ross P. Tarara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Necropsy records and associated clinical histories from the rhesus macaque colony at the California National Primate Research Center were reviewed to identify mortality related to cardiac abnormalities involving left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). Over a 21-y period, 162 cases (female, 90; male, 72) of idiopathic LVH were identified. Macaques presented to necropsy with prominent concentric hypertrophy of the left ventricle associated with striking reduction of the ventricular lumen. Among all LVH cases, 74 macaques (female, 39; male, 35), mostly young adults, presented for spontaneous (sudden) death; more than 50% of these 74 cases were associated with a recent history of sedation or intraspecific aggression. The risk of sudden death in the 6- to 9-y-old age group was significantly higher in male macaques. Subtle histologic cardiac lesions included karyomegaly and increased cardiac myocyte diameter. Pedigree analyses based on rhesus macaque LVH probands suggested a strong genetic predisposition for the condition. In humans, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is defined by the presence of unexplained left ventricular hypertrophy, associated with diverse clinical outcomes ranging from asymptomatic disease to sudden death. Although the overall risk of disease complications such as sudden death, end-stage heart failure, and stroke is low (1% to 2%) in patients with HCM, the absolute risk can vary dramatically. Prima facie comparison of HCM and LVH suggest that further study may allow the development of spontaneously occurring LVH in rhesus macaques as a useful model of HCM, to better understand the pathogenesis of this remarkably heterogeneous disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-169
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2016


  • HCM
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • LVH
  • Left ventricular hypertrophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Veterinary


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