Chronic colitis in the cotton-top tamarin (CTT) has been characterized by obtaining distal colonic biopsy specimens, hematocrits, serum albumins, and stools for bacteriologic and parasitic examination in nondebilitated living CTTs. The species specificity of the histologic features of colitis observed in the CTT was assessed by obtaining distal colonic biopsy specimens from 10 animals of other primate species for histologic examination. Histologic evidence of active colitis was found in 50% of adult CTTs but was absent in all non-CTT species studied. Fortytwo stool samples obtained from 18 CTTs yielded only one isolate (Campylobacter). In addition to active colitis, CTT rectal mucosa also often had subtle irregularities in mucosal structure that were not present in nonrelated primate species and might represent chronic colitis. Metaplasia was not observed. The therapeutic effects of oral sul f asalazine (50 mg/kg · day) on CTT colitis were assessed in a randomized 10-wk placebo controlled crossover study. This study demonstrated significant improvement in disease activity as judged histologically (p < 0.05) and significant increases in animal weight (p < 0.01) and serum albumin (p < 0.01) during sulfasalazine therapy when compared with saline control. Sulfasalazine therapy can ameliorate the effects of this disease and offers promise in maintaining experimental colonies of this endangered species for future studies.
- cotton-top tamarin
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