Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), reaching epidemic proportions in humans, has emerged as a disease in aging captive populations of adult chimpanzees; however, little information is available regarding T2DM in chimpanzees. Our goals were to: (1) distinguish between normal, healthy chimpanzees and those with early (prediabetes) or advanced diabetes; (2) establish and compare the fasting (16 h) blood glucose reference range for chimpanzees at our facility with published reference ranges; and (3) establish hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) reference intervals for healthy, nondiabetic chimpanzees and define threshold values for prediabetes and diabetes. If reliable, our reference ranges for FBG and HbA1c could become clinical tools for screening animals at risk and for monitoring therapeutic progress. The overall incidence of T2DM in our colony of 260 chimpanzees is 0.8% but is increased to 3.7% in animals older than 30 y (geriatric). For our defined reference intervals, chimpanzees with FBG or HbA1c levels up to the 85th percentile (glucose, less than or equal to 105 mg/dL; HbA1c, less than or equal to 5.0%) were considered healthy; those whose values lay between the 86th and 95th percentiles (glucose, 106 to 119 mg/dL; HbA1c, 5.1% to 5.2%) were possibly prediabetic, and animals whose values exceeded the 95th percentile (glucose, greater than or equal to 120 mg/dL; HbA1c, greater than 5.3%) were identified as potentially having diabetes. We found that our FBG range was comparable to other published results, with a positive correlation between HbA1c and glucose. Furthermore, the negligible HbA1c response to acute stress or recent food consumption suggests that HbA1c is highly useful for evaluating glycemic control during treatment of diabetic chimpanzees and is more informative concerning overall glucose control than are FBG levels alone.
Keywords: FBG, fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, hemoglobin A1c, T2DM, type 2 diabetes mellitus
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