We examined the relationship between social status, social stress, and central obesity in a series of studies of social group-living cynomolgus monkeys. In all of the experiments discussed below, adult monkeys were fed a moderately atherogenic diet that contained between 0.25 and 0.39 mg cholesterol/calorie and 40% of calories from fat (primarily saturated fat). These monkeys were housed in small social groups of four to six animals of the same gender.
The initial investigation of regional adiposity and coronary artery atherosclerosis was a retrospective necropsy study of 36 adult female cynomolgus monkeys (49). Whole body and regional adiposity were determined using anthropometric measurements. Whole body adiposity did not predict the extent of coronary artery atherosclerosis. However, the relative amount of subcutaneous fat deposited on the trunk (estimated by the ratio of subscapulantriceps skinfold thickness) versus the periphery was associated with coronary artery atherosclerosis extent. Females in the top half of the distribution of sub-scapular:triceps skinfold ratio had more than three times as much coronary artery atherosclerosis than females in the lower half of the distribution (49).
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