Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Science as Torture

"Long research experience has taught us that adequate human data generalize with pride and prescience to monkey data."

-- Harry F. Harlow and Clara Mears, 1978 --
Prologue, The Human Model: Primate Perspectives

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Isolation with Physical Restraint

Do we really need a "model" of premenstrual depression syndrome, aka PMS? Does this purported need outweigh the harm being done to these animals?

J Affect Disord. 2007 Jan 26; http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01650327

Isolating with physical restraint low status female monkeys during luteal phase might make an appropriate premenstrual depression syndrome model.

Qiao M, Zhao Q, Zhang H, Wang H, Xue L, Wei S.

Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, School of Basic Medicine, Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan 250014, China.

BACKGROUND: Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) have a close phylogenetic relationship to humans, and have a similar 28-day menstrual cycle with similar hormonal fluctuations. In this study, we attempt to establish the premenstrual depression syndrome of rhesus monkey (M. mulatta) models by isolation with physical restraint of low social status young female monkeys during their luteal phase. METHODS: Low social status young female rhesus monkeys (M. mulatta) were isolated with physical restraint during their luteal phase by using a specifically designed isolating-cage. During the entire menses cycle, serum levels of 5-hydroxytrypamine, noradrenalin and adrenalin were detected by capillary zone electrophoresis, and the changes in the serum levels of progesterone, estradiol and prolactin were investigated by radioimmunoassay. At the same time, the pharmaceutical interference effect of Jingqianshu granule, a traditional Chinese medicine specifically used to cure premenstrual depression patients, was tested using this premenstrual depression syndrome monkey model. RESULTS: After being immured in two consecutive menstrual cycles, monkeys presented depressive symptoms during the premenstrual phase of three consecutive menstrual cycles. The serum contents of the three kinds of monoamine neurotransmitters in depressive monkeys were significantly higher than the normal ones. The serum levels of progesterone and prolactin increased obviously, and a marked change in the pattern of progesterone secretion could be observed. Moreover, the premenstrual depressive symptoms of model group monkeys could not only be cured by Jingqianshu granule, but the higher serum levels of prolactin and monoamine neurotransmitters in these monkeys could be reduced by this herbal medicine. These data were well in line with clinical observations of women with premenstrual depression syndrome. CONCLUSION: Our results in this study for the first time indicate that isolation with physical restraint of low status young female monkeys during their luteal phase makes an appropriate premenstrual depression syndrome model. This model might potentially facilitate studies on the etiology of premenstrual depression syndrome and the development of better methods for the therapy of this disease.