Articles | Volume 4, issue 2
Review article
27 Oct 2017
Review article |  | 27 Oct 2017

A review on ocular findings in mouse lemurs: potential links to age and genetic background

Marko Dubicanac, Ute Radespiel, and Elke Zimmermann

Abstract. Mouse lemurs, the world's smallest primates, inhabit forests in Madagascar. They are nocturnal, arboreal and dependent on vision for their everyday lives. In the last decades, the grey mouse lemur became increasingly important for biomedical research, in particular aging research. Experiments which require the combination of visual fitness and old age consequently depend on a solid knowledge of ocular pathologies. Although ocular diseases in mouse lemurs have been described as being common, they have not received much attention so far. Yet it is important to know when and why ocular diseases in captive mouse lemurs may occur. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of known ocular findings in mouse lemurs. It summarizes the frequency of ocular findings in captive mouse lemur colonies and points to their likely causes and treatment options based on the evidence available from other animals and humans. In addition, it shall be discussed whether age or genetic background may affect their development. This review may be used as a reference for future studies which require an assessment of visual performance in mouse lemurs and help to evaluate observed clinical signs and ocular diseases. Furthermore, the high incidence of specific diseases may provide new perspectives and set the groundwork for a new animal model for ocular research.

Short summary
This review shows that mouse lemurs show various ocular impairments which may distort vision. The most widespread and obvious ocular finding were nuclear sclerosis and cataracts. Both highly increase with increasing age. Iris posterior synechia has been described in different colonies and seems highly age dependent and cataract associated. Combined with the variety of many other eye diseases, special ophthalmological treatments and examinations are required to ensure animal well-being.