EUPRIM-Net Courses on general primate biology

Course PrimBio 14/01
Environmental Enrichment, Handling; Non-Invasive Methods; Ethical and Legal Aspects of Primate Research
14 -18/01/2008

Course Schedule:

Monday, 14.01.
08:15 am Registration
09:00 Welcome, Information about EUPRIM-Net and the Course Series
Eckhard Heymann, Deike Terruhn
09:30 Environmental Enrichment
Hannah Buchanan-Smith, University of Stirling, Scotland
10:40 Coffee Break
11:00 Environmental Enrichment
Hannah Buchanan-Smith, University of Stirling, Scotland
12:30 Lunch Break at DPZ
02:00 pm Environmental Enrichment
Hannah Buchanan-Smith, University of Stirling, Scotland
03:30 Coffee Break
03:50 Environmental Enrichment
Hannah Buchanan-Smith, University of Stirling, Scotland
05:00 End of Session
05:15 Movie in the DPZ lecture hall
06:30 Dinner at DPZ*
Tuesday, 15.01.
09:00 am Environmental Enrichment
Hannah Buchanan-Smith, University of Stirling, Scotland
10:30 Coffee Break
Group Photograph
12:30 pm Lunch Break at University Cafeteria**
  Environmental Enrichment
Hannah Buchanan-Smith, University of Stirling, Scotland
05:00 End of Session
  Transfer: Bus No. 5 from “Kellnerweg” to “Markt” at 5:09 or 5:39
06:00 Guided Tour "Through the Göttingen Underworld " / Town of Göttingen (optional)
07:30 Dinner in the "Kartoffelhaus" (optional)**
Wednesday, 16.01.
08:30 am Blood Pressure Measurements
Beate Egner
09:30 Handling and Training
Karolina Westlund, SMI, Sweden
12:30 Lunch Break at University Cafeteria**
02:00 pm Handling and Training
Karolina Westlund, SMI, Sweden
05:30 End of Session
Thursday, 17.01.
09:00 am Non-invasive Endocrine Assessment in Primatology: Methodologies and Application
Michael Heistermann, DPZ
10:15 Telemetry in monkey neurophysiology - Remote monitoring of neuronal brain signals
Alexander Gail, DPZ
11:30 Guided Tour through the DPZ Facilities
12:30 Lunch Break at University Cafeteria**
02:00 pm Blood Pressure determination in Cynomolgus Monkeys (Macaca fascicularis)
Barthel Schmelting
, Covance Laboratories GMBH, Münster, Germany
03:15 Non-invasive Measurement of Blood Pressure in Marmoset Monkeys
Christina Schlumbohm, DPZ
04:30 4 slots á 10 minutes for participants to present their home institutions.
If you would like to take the chance to present your home situation and would be willing to answer some questions in a short discussion afterwards, please contact Deike as soon as possible.
05:30 End of Session
Friday, 18.01.
09:00 am Workshop and discussion on the topic “My job in Primate Research”
Chair: Susanne Holtkamp, Hammerbacher GmbH, Osnabrück, Germany
01:00 pm Closing Remarks
01:15 Lunch Break at University Cafeteria**
02:30 Optional Exam (1 hour)
  *Extra Cost for Dinner (15 € - has to be booked and paid on the first day of course if you like to participate)
  **Not included in the course fee


Environmental Enrichment for Captive Primates
Hannah Buchanan-Smith, Department of Psychology, University of Stirling, Scotland
It is vital to provide high-quality captive conditions for primates not only to ensure their good welfare, but for the quality of research conducted upon them. In these presentations over two days, I shall outline the goals of enrichment to improve the quality of life of the primates, and their ability to cope with challenges. The behavioural needs of primates may be particularly difficult to cater for in captive environments due to the social and physical complexity of their natural habitats and their intelligence. Sophisticated methods to prevent fear, boredom, and stress are required. I shall use numerous examples of social, occupational, physical, sensory and nutritional enrichment, in a range of primates most commonly kept in laboratories, and outline the theoretical underpinnings of successful enrichment techniques (such as predictability, complexity, choice and control). Techniques to monitor how successful the enrichment is, and to determine the significance of enrichment will be covered. The organisation of effective enrichment programmes will be described, together with approaches to solve behavioural management problems. The barriers to implementing more successful enrichment will be explored, within the scientific framework and time constraints within busy laboratories. There will be a wide variety of presentation styles, including videos, and breakout group discussions to allow interchange of ideas and active engagement. Participants should leave with enthusiasm, and equipped with new ideas, and the techniques and skills at hand, to return to facilities to implement a wide range of enrichment for primates in their care.
Handling and training of primates
Karolina Westlund, SMI, Sweden
In later years, legislation regarding the housing and care of laboratory primates have undergone a substantial revision (ETS 123, 2004; EEC Directorate C, 2002). Breeding standards, the importance of social housing and the use of environmental enrichment to promote species-specific behaviours have been identified as important areas where improvements may be made, apart from the obvious changes such as using larger cages to accomodate animals. Furthermore, stressful handling of nonhuman primates in conjunction with blood sampling, injections and other experimental procedures is argued to have a negative impact on the animal welfare, and is also recognised as a potential confounding factor in biomedical research. Positive Reinforcement Training (PRT) of the animals for participation in such procedures is proposed to dramatically reduce the stress level for the animals, promote more reliable experimental results, and lead to an increased safety, both for animals and personnel (see for instance Reinhardt: Training nonhuman primates to cooperate during handling procedures: a review. Animal technology, 48: 55-73, 1997). It has been pointed out by the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare within Directorate C of the European Commission that training of animals “...promotes safety and valid and efficient data collection, diminishing data variability and reducing the number of animals required to obtain statistically significant results.” (The welfare of non-human primates used in research, 17 December 2002).

This full day lecture will give an introduction to animal training using Operant Conditioning. I explain what negative and positive reinforcement is and describe the two most commonly used techniques to train desired behaviours (targeting and shaping). I also discuss how to get rid of undesired behaviours (using different strategies such as extinction, time outs and training an incompatible behaviour), and I elaborate on why punishment is generally not a good idea to use as a training tool. One important aspect of animal training is getting control of the behaviour, and I go over how to add a cue (tell the animal which behaviour to perform) when training. In addition, I give some tips and ideas of how to get started. We also do a problem solving discussion. Overall I show a lot of videos of animals being trained and doing behaviours. We also engage in a game called the Training Game, where we get to practice our newfound skills – on each other! Finally, the participants practice writing shaping plans – detailed instructions on how a particular behaviour should be trained.

Training is easy but not simple. It includes a vocabulary that might intimidate a new trainer. Before the lecture, a terminology list will be given to the participants, who should familiarize themselves with the expressions before the lecture.
Non-invasive Endocrine Assessment in Primatology: Methodologies and Application
Michael Heistermann, Department of Reproductive Biology, German Primate Centre
The ability to accurately assess reproductive function and physiological status in primates is important to our understanding of many aspects of primate biology. Since primates are generally difficult to handle, potentially dangerous and sensitive to physical and social disruption, scientific and animal welfare as well as practical considerations emphasise the need for a non-invasive approach to physiological assessment. In this respect, methods based on the measurement of hormones and their metabolites excreted into urine and faeces have proven particularly useful as they enable to generate information on an individual´s physiology without the need for animal capture and/or restraint. Moreover, excreta can be collected on a frequent basis and for prolonged periods of time, thus facilitating long-term physiological assessment with a minimum of animal disturbance.
To date, there have been two main areas of application of this technology within the field of primatology. Firstly, measurement of excreted hormone metabolites have been used for monitoring physiological status in zoo/captive-housed animals as a means of assisting the management and breeding of primates in captivity. In this respect, endocrine monitoring of reproductive function based on the quantification of sex hormone metabolites has generated considerable comparative data as well as information of diagnostic value on which management decisions (e.g. pairing of animals, transfers, timed matings etc.) can be based and their outcome evaluated. In addition, measurement of excreted stress hormones is being used to evaluate the impact of management decisions and housing conditions on the welfare of primates in captivity. Secondly, with the recognition that a more complete understanding of primate behaviour requires information on underlying physiological mechanisms, considerable progress has been made in combining non-invasive endocrine methodologies with behavioural observations to provide a more integrated approach to studies on primate behavioural ecology. This area of so-called “field endocrinology” has primarily been made possible through the developments in faecal hormone analysis techniques that permit to collect long-term physiological data from individual animals living in natural settings. In this respect, application of non-invasive endocrine methodologies has provided new insights into processes of physiological adaptation and reproductive strategies in wild living primates.
The main factors determining the reliability and practicality of these technologies are those related to sample quality, laboratory procedures and validation of measurements. The latter is particularly important since species can differ markedly with respect to the preferred route of hormone excretion (urine versus faeces), but also in terms of metabolism of hormones prior to elimination from the body. This dictates the need for a careful biochemical and biological validation of hormone measurement for each species in order to ensure that the information to be generated is reliable and biologically meaningful. In addition, knowledge of the temporal relationship between hormone excretion and a given physiological event is essential for correct interpretation and use of information obtained.
In this talk, the methodologies and areas of application of non-invasive endocrine assessment in primatology will be briefly reviewed. The first part will deal mainly with methodological aspects involved in urinary and faecal hormone analysis, including information on species differences in hormone metabolism and patterns of excretion as well as possibilities for validating hormone measurements in the different fields of application. In the second part of the talk, examples, mainly from our own work, will be presented to illustrate i) the potential of non-invasive methodologies as a diagnostic tool in the area of captive management and breeding and ii) its value in different areas of field primatological research which represents a focus of the work in our department.
Telemetry in monkey neurophysiology - Remote monitoring of neuronal brain signals
Alexander Gail, Cognitive Neurosciences Department, Sensorimotor Group, German Primate Center
Analysis of neuronal brain activity in awake and active primates is one of the key methods in modern system neuroscience. The temporally and spatially precise registration of the activity of individual neurons with microelectrodes is essential for understanding the neuronal basis of brain function, aiming to explain skills like sensory processing and perception, motor planning and motor control, as well as complex cognitive behavior like decision making and social interaction. Current electrophysiological techniques allow the registration of electrical activity of individual neurons in movement restrained animals only, since transmission of neural signals from the brain to the computer and control signals for head-mounted electrode positioning system are wire-based. Using novel technologies in wireless signal transmission we develop a head-mounted device suited to remotely record neural brain activity from multiple electrodes in freely moving monkeys, including wireless control of electrode positions. The development and refinement of wireless techniques will help to facilitate acquisition of neural data not readily available from non-restrained animals. Wireless multi-channel recordings of brain activtiy will be a key feature of future implantable brain-machine interfaces needed for neuroprosthetic devices. They will also allow new research questions to be addressed in freely moving animals, The proposed approach thereby can also provide important contributions to the 3 R-concept of Reduction, Refinement, and Replacement.
Non-invasive Measurement of Blood Pressure in Marmoset Monkeys
Christina Schlumbohm, Clinical Neurobiology Laboratory, German Primate Center
In the EU funded project EUPEAH a new method was developed to measure blood pressure in common marmoset monkeys under laboratory conditions. Compared to humans and pet animals marmoset monkeys have much higher heart rates (up to 450 per min). Commercially available blood pressure devices for small animals or children are overstrained with this high frequency. Blood pressure measurements in small primates until now were only possible with implantable transmitters. If implantation is successful blood pressure recordings can be carried out for a limited time period, depending on the used transmitter model and on patency of the catheter which is inserted into the abdominal aorta. In contrast, with the cuff method no lesions occur in the experimental animals and blood pressure can be studied over long time periods (years). The only precondition for valid oscillometric blood pressure measurements are the proper customization of the experimental animals. However, depending on the experimental approach both methods have their pros and cons.
Physiological aspects of blood pressure regulation will be presented. The outcome of oscillometric and telemetric blood pressure measurements will be compared. Advantages and disadvantages of both methods will be discussed. Applicability of the method of oscillometric blood pressure measurement for research purposes will be demonstrated.