Evaluation of a zinc gluconate neutralized with arginine product as a nonsurgical method for sterilization of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta).
Because rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) are prolific breeders, overpopulation can be problematic in both research and feral populations. Currently, the most effective contraceptive methods are hormonal control in female macaques and vasectomies in males. These methods each come with innate challenges, the foremost being the alteration of necessary hormonal patterns. In this study, we assessed the use of zinc gluconate neutralized with arginine as a novel, nonsurgical alternative to male contraception in 12 rhesus macaques. This FDA-approved product for dogs is given as a one-time, intratesticular injection to cause permanent infertility yet theoretically spare the testosterone-producing Leydig cells of the testis. CBC counts, serum biochemistry analyses, testosterone levels, and testicular widths were evaluated at the time of injection and at 1 wk, 1 mo, 2 mo, or 3 mo afterward. Daily postinjection observations revealed transient scrotal enlargement in 8 of the 12 macaques but no indications of pain. In addition, full necropsies including testicular histopathology were assessed at study endpoints. Although some portion of every testis had evidence of seminiferous tubule loss, normal spermatogenesis was present in 22 of the 24 testes. In conclusion, chemical castration with the tested zinc gluconate neutralized with arginine product is not an effective method for sterilization of male rhesus macaques.