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Pig models for the human heart failure syndrome

Hunter, Ingrida,b; Terzic, Dijanaa; Zois, Nora E.a; Olsen, Lisbeth H.b; Goetze, Jens P.a

Cardiovascular Endocrinology: March 2014 - Volume 3 - Issue 1 - p 15–18
doi: 10.1097/XCE.0000000000000022
Cardiovascular Biomarkers in Animal Models – A Bridge to Human Disease Edited by Jens Peter Goetze and Lisbeth Høier Olsen: Reviews

Human heart failure remains a challenging illness despite advances in the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure patients. There is a need for further improvement of our understanding of the failing myocardium and its molecular deterioration. Porcine models provide an important research tool in this respect as molecular changes can be examined in detail, which is simply not feasible in human patients. However, the human heart failure syndrome is based on symptoms and signs, where pig models mostly mimic the myocardial damage, but without decisive data on clinical presentation and, therefore, a heart failure diagnosis. In perspective, pig models are in need of some verification in terms of the clinical definition of the experimental condition. After all, humans are not pigs, pigs are not humans, and the difference between the species needs to be better understood before pig models can fully be used to elucidate the human heart failure syndrome.

aDepartment of Clinical Biochemistry, Rigshospitalet

bDepartment of Veterinary Disease Biology, Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark

Correspondence to Ingrid Hunter, DVM, PhD, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen DK-2100, Denmark Tel: +45 354 52202; fax: +45 354 52880; e-mail:

Received September 29, 2013

Accepted January 7, 2014

© 2014Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams Wilkins