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Vitamin D status in chimpanzees in human care: a Europe wide study

Moittié, Sophie; Jarvis, Rachel; Bandelow, Stephan; Byrne, Sarah; Dobbs, Phillipa; Grant, Melissa; Reeves, Christopher; White, Kate; Liptovszky, Mátyás; Baiker, Kerstin

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Sophie Moittié

Rachel Jarvis

Stephan Bandelow

Sarah Byrne

Phillipa Dobbs

Melissa Grant

Christopher Reeves

Professor of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia

Mátyás Liptovszky

Kerstin Baiker


While vitamin D deficiency is a public health concern in humans, comparatively little is known about vitamin D levels in non-human primates. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in overall health and its deficiency is associated with a range of disorders, including cardiovascular disease, which is a leading cause of death in great apes. 25 Serum samples (n=245) from chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) housed at 32 European zoos were measured for 25-hydroxyvitamin D2, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and total 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. Of these samples, 33.1% indicated inadequate vitamin D status, using the human reference interval (25-OHD<50 nmol/L). The season of the year, health status of the animal, and the provision of daily outdoor access had a significant effect on vitamin D status. This is the first 30 large-scale study on vitamin D status of non-human great apes in human care. Inadequate 25-OHD serum concentrations are widespread in the chimpanzee population in Europe and could be a risk factor for the development of idiopathic myocardial fibrosis, a major cause of mortality in this species, as well as other diseases. A review of husbandry and nutrition practices is recommended to ensure optimal vitamin D supply for these endangered animals. 35

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 23, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 21, 2022
Publication Date Oct 21, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 12, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2022
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Article Number 17625
Keywords Great apes; chimpanzees; cardiovascular; zoo; cardiac fibrosis; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; UVB; Pan troglodytes 20
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