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J Lipid Res. 2012 Jan;53(1):51-65. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M019927. Epub 2011 Oct 23.

Plasma lipid profiling across species for the identification of optimal animal models of human dyslipidemia.

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  • 1Department of Atherosclerosis, Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, NJ 07065, USA.


In an attempt to understand the applicability of various animal models to dyslipidemia in humans and to identify improved preclinical models for target discovery and validation for dyslipidemia, we measured comprehensive plasma lipid profiles in 24 models. These included five mouse strains, six other nonprimate species, and four nonhuman primate (NHP) species, and both healthy animals and animals with metabolic disorders. Dyslipidemic humans were assessed by the same measures. Plasma lipoprotein profiles, eight major plasma lipid fractions, and FA compositions within these lipid fractions were compared both qualitatively and quantitatively across the species. Given the importance of statins in decreasing plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol for treatment of dyslipidemia in humans, the responses of these measures to simvastatin treatment were also assessed for each species and compared with dyslipidemic humans. NHPs, followed by dog, were the models that demonstrated closest overall match to dyslipidemic humans. For the subset of the dyslipidemic population with high plasma triglyceride levels, the data also pointed to hamster and db/db mouse as representative models for practical use in target validation. Most traditional models, including rabbit, Zucker diabetic fatty rat, and the majority of mouse models, did not demonstrate overall similarity to dyslipidemic humans in this study.

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