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Lab Anim. 2004 Jul;38(3):246-56.

The laboratory rabbit: an animal model of atherosclerosis research.

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  • 1The Laboratory of Experimental Surgery and Surgical Research, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.


The aim of the present mini review is to describe the laboratory rabbit, an animal that has been widely used for the study of atherosclerosis, the leading cause of mortality in Western society. Due to the fact that the rabbit exhibits hypercholesterolaemia within a few days of an administration of a high cholesterol diet, it is very sensitive to the inducement of atheromatic lesions. The administration of different types of diets can cause different types of lesions. Although these lesions do not develop as tissue plaques, a great number of researchers use this animal model to test the effectiveness of drugs because of their similarity to human fatty streaks. The generation over recent years of transgenic rabbits with alterations in specific genes is expected to help with the elucidation of the mechanisms underlying the initial and developmental stages of the disease. The laboratory rabbit is significantly broadening our understanding on the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.

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