Development, refinement, and characterization of a nonhuman primate critical care environment

Joseph D Bozzay, Patrick F Walker, Rex E Atwood, Robert W DeSpain, William J Parker, Daniel S Chertow, John A Mares, Crystal L Leonhardt, Eric A Elster, Matthew J Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Systemic inflammatory response remains a poorly understood cause of morbidity and mortality after traumatic injury. Recent nonhuman primate (NHP) trauma models have been used to characterize the systemic response to trauma, but none have incorporated a critical care phase without the use of general anesthesia. We describe the development of a prolonged critical care environment with sedation and ventilation support, and also report corresponding NHP biologic and inflammatory markers.

METHODS: Eight adult male rhesus macaques underwent ventilation with sedation for 48-96 hours in a critical care setting. Three of these NHPs underwent "sham" procedures as part of trauma control model development. Blood counts, chemistries, coagulation studies, and cytokines/chemokines were collected throughout the study, and histopathologic analysis was conducted at necropsy.

RESULTS: Eight NHPs were intentionally survived and extubated. Three NHPs were euthanized at 72-96 hours without extubation. Transaminitis occurred over the duration of ventilation, but renal function, acid-base status, and hematologic profile remained stable. Chemokine and cytokine analysis were notable for baseline fold-change for Il-6 and Il-1ra (9.7 and 42.7, respectively) that subsequently downtrended throughout the experiment unless clinical respiratory compromise was observed.

CONCLUSIONS: A NHP critical care environment with ventilation support is feasible but requires robust resources. The inflammatory profile of NHPs is not profoundly altered by sedation and mechanical ventilation. NHPs are susceptible to the pulmonary effects of short-term ventilation and demonstrate a similar bioprofile response to ventilator-induced pulmonary pathology. This work has implications for further development of a prolonged care NHP model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0281548
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Male
  • Chemokines
  • Critical Care/methods
  • Cytokines
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Respiration, Artificial/adverse effects
  • Veterinary Medicine


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