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Current Common Marmoset Research

Current Research - Page 2

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II. Toxicology Research

A. Safety Pharmacology

  • Designed to determine any negative physiological or behavioral effects of a drug
  • Designed to determine if the tests accurately detect drug effects

Pharmacology studies examining safety and health concerns about a drug are designed to determine any potentially unwanted physiological or behavioral effects before testing on humans. These tests typically include the assessment of general activity and behavior, and effects on the nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, and reproductive systems. If the drug has undesirable consequences in animals it will not be tested on humans.

Most toxicological studies on drugs or chemicals are tested in at least two mammalian species before they are used in humans. Many of these studies are carried out in non-human primates, rats or mice. A two species comparison is beneficial because effects found in rats or mice may or may not be found in non-human primates. For example, a comparative study was performed in both mice and common marmosets to examine the effects of Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP; a plasticizer chemical). DEHP caused large tumors in the livers of mice, but not in marmosets. It seemed that there were no longtime effects in the primates but there were in the mice. This is just one example in which researchers decided that mice were not an appropriate model in which to access human risk to DEHP. Non-human primates were more appropriate for accurate assessment of risk to humans because of their closer relation.

In addition, pharmacology and toxicology studies help to determine if the tests performed are accurate. For instance, one test was designed to investigate drugs that claim to induce anxiety, such as caffeine. The test was based on the anxiety inducing effects of non-familiar humans on common marmosets in the laboratory. The researchers thought that marmosets with an increased anxiety level would react more to the presence of humans than marmosets with a normal anxiety level: anxiety is thought to increase fear levels in both animals and humans. The results showed that caffeine had no effect on the reaction of the marmosets to humans. The human threat test, though may not be sensitive enough to detect effects of anxiety drugs.

Further Reading:

Carey, G. J., Costall, B., Domeney, A. M., Jones, D. N., & Naylor, R. J. (1991). Behavioral Effects of Anxiogenic Agents in the Common Marmoset. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 42, 143-153.

Jackh, R., Rhodes, C., Grasso, P., & Carter, J. T. (1984). Genotoxicity Studies on DI-(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate and Adipate and Toxicity Studies on DI-(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate in the rat and Marmoset. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 22(2), 151-155.

Additional Related Links:

Society of Toxicology:
See for article titled "Guiding Principals in the Use of Animals in Toxicology"

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Text by Rebecca Dallwig.