Last year I wrote about a study involving Endometriosis being found in Cynomolgus monkeys. Recently, a new study was published in Human Reproduction about those monkeys and Endometriosis, and here I am to regurgitate it to you in my layman understanding.
At the Tsukuba Primate Research Center in Japan, 614 female cynomolgus monkeys were evaluated between 2008 and 2012. Of those, 29 were chosen to be screened on a routine basis, including monitoring menstrual cycles, fertility, bloodwork (including CA-125 levels), and physical examinations. Surgeries were performed and 15 of the 29 monkeys had surgically confirmed cases of Endometriosis.
Let me repeat that: fifteen of the 29 monkeys had surgically confirmed cases of Endometriosis. These monkeys were not implanted with Endometriosis as lab rats often are. It grew on its own.
These 15 monkeys ranged in age from 8 years old to 20 years old. They discovered that CA-125 levels tended to be elevated in the monkeys that had chocolate cysts present and lower in those who did not have endometriomas. They also discovered that painful palpation examinations and abnormal feces were both commonalities with these monkeys. Also of note, the monkeys ate less food during their menstrual cycles, which may be attributed to increased pain and a decreased quality of life.
During the time of the study, the remaining monkeys who did not have Endometriosis were monitored to make sure they did not develop the illness. Four of them DID develop Endometriosis!
Even though the monkeys were small in comparison to humans, the surgeons were able to easily identify Endometriosis lesions (and their various colors: red, pink, brown, blue, black or white), endometriomas (chocolate cysts), and adhesions while performing the laparoscopies.
Based on these findings, the authors suggest that screening, diagnosing, and monitoring Endometriosis in monkeys should include palpations, fecal monitoring, and CA-125 testing.
The findings of the study were that cynomolgus monkeys with spontaneous endometriosis may prove to be a good model to evaluate the disease, as well as drug efficacy. I would hate to think that that means they may one day end up as lab rats for drug companies. My animal-lovin’ brain takes me down that dark path, though.
I am constantly amazed by the presence of Endometriosis in non-humans. And saddened at the thought that these animals cannot vocalize the pain I know they feel. But knowing that the illness affects other species makes me hope that it may one day get the attention of the scientific and medical communities that it deserves.
~ Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa