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The Development and Use of Animal Models in Atherosclerosis Research

  • Robert W. Wissler
  • Dragoslava Vesselinovitch
Part of the GWUMC Department of Biochemistry Annual Spring Symposia book series (GWUN)

Abstract

There have been immense strides in the development and use of animal models of human atherosclerosis in the past 35 years. These are contributing greatly to the study of the cellular pathobiology and the molecular pathology and molecular genetics of this important disease process, studies that are difficult if not impossible in people. The purpose of this chapter is to trace these developments briefly and to highlight some of the ongoing studies that are likely to be especially useful and valuable in the near future.

Although the rabbit and fowl have been and still are making great contributions to our understanding of atherogenesis, the introduction of useful and highly relevant models of atherogenesis in large mammals has been particularly noteworthy, especially those developed in several species of nonhuman primates, swine, and the further development of canine models. These have helped make possible the study of the pathogenesis of progressive plaques leading to advanced lesions with most if not all of the cardiovascular, peripheral, and cerebral complications observed in human subjects. These studies have also permitted pioneering investigations of the cellular and biochemical events in progression as well as those resulting from therapeutic retardation of atherosclerosis using modern pathobiological and molecular methods. They form a fitting bridge between the exciting probes being made in vitro and the developing studies of human atherosclerotic lesions being conducted using surgically removed lesions and suitable specimens from freshly autopsied cadavers. They also form a bridge to the many epidemiologic studies, the results of which are sometimes difficult to confirm at the lesion level in human subjects.

Among the very recent useful developments that excite the imagination are the genetic models of lipoprotein abnormalities being developed in rabbits and in the baboon, the remarkable insights concerning the mechanisms responsible for hyper-and hyporesponders in several species of primates, the important studies of the influence of sex and other endocrine effects, of stress on behavior and sociological interactions in primates, the pioneering investigations of the effects of immune complexes and other arterial injuries on the disease process, and the use of these models to delineate further the mechanisms by which exercise, calcium channel blockers, ß blockers, and other important interventions can alter the atherosclerotic process.

Keywords

Rhesus Monkey Nonhuman Primate Sodium Cholate Advanced Lesion Aortic Atherosclerosis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Wissler
    • 1
  • Dragoslava Vesselinovitch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of Chicago, Atherosclerosis-SCORChicagoUSA

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