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Disease models

Transgenic miniature pig model for hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis

A transgenic miniature pig model for hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis could aid the development of imaging technologies, intravascular devices and therapeutics. Yucatan miniature pigs were engineered to express a gain-of-function mutant of human proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) in the liver, which causes hypercholesterolemia and accelerates atherosclerosis in humans. Transgenic pigs fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet had severe hypercholesterolemia and key pathophysiological features of human atherosclerosis, and faster development of atherosclerotic lesions compared with wild-type pigs fed the same diet. Ongoing studies include validating some of the imaging techniques used for clinical atherosclerosis studies.

SciBX 6(4); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.99
Published online Jan. 31, 2013

Patent application filed by Aarhus University; licensed to PixieGene A/S

Al-Mashhadi, R.H. et al. Sci. Transl. Med.; published online Jan. 2, 2013;
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3004853
Contact: Jacob F. Bentzon, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
e-mail:
jben@ki.au.dk