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Am J Pathol. Jul 1991; 139(1): 139–147.
PMCID: PMC1886122

Development of complex atherosclerotic lesions in pigs with inherited hyper-LDL cholesterolemia bearing mutant alleles for apolipoprotein B.


The development of atherosclerotic lesions was studied in pigs aged 4 to 54 months with inherited hyperlow-density lipoprotein (LDL) and hypercholesterolemia (IHLC pigs). These pigs bear the Lpb5 and Lpu1 mutant alleles for apolipoproteins B and U and demonstrate spontaneously elevated cholesterol levels, due primarily to elevated LDL. By 1 year of age, IHLC pigs exhibited focal lesions in the major coronary, iliac, and femoral arteries that were composed of macrophage-derived from cells and smooth muscle cells. Peripheral arterial lesions were more fibrous than those found in the coronaries. By 2 years of age, complicated stenotic lesions containing fibrous caps, necrotic cores, cholesterol clefts, granular calcium deposits, and neovascularization deep within the lesion were common in the major coronary vessels. Peripheral vascular lesions were more smooth muscle cell-rich and fibrotic. By 3 years of age, neovascularization was observed throughout the intimal lesion, and hemorrhage and rupture were common. The extent of complicated lesion formation correlated with both the degree and duration of hypercholesterolemia, with the most stenotic lesions observed in the coronary arteries of the oldest animals having the highest cholesterol levels. Thus IHLC pigs with mutant apolipoproteins B and U develop complicated atherosclerotic plaques that closely resemble advanced atherosclerotic lesions found in humans.

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