Background Streptozotocin-induced diabetic non-human primates are used to study efficacy and safety of innovative immunosuppression after islet transplantation. We implemented a training program for medical management of a chronic disease state. Methods Cooperation with hand feeding and drinking, shifting, and limb presentation were trained utilizing predominately positive but also negative reinforcement in 52 animals compared with 28 macaques subjected to conventional physical and/or chemical restraint. The success and timing of behavior acquisition was evaluated in a representative subset of 14 animals. Results Over 90% of animals were successful in behavior acquisition. Programmatically this resulted in complete elimination of chair restraint and negligible requirement for sedation. About half of the trained animals had no-to-moderate thymic involution, indicative of a substantial reduction in stress. Conclusion Cooperative handling enhances animal well-being. This contributes to validity of scientific results and eliminates model-induced confounding that can obstruct interpretation of safety and efficacy data.
- Animal welfare
- Negative reinforcement training
- Positive reinforcement training
- Psychological well-being
- Type 1 diabetes