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Cardiovasc Res. 1998 Jul;39(1):60-76.

Animal models of human cardiovascular disease, heart failure and hypertrophy.

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  • Abteilung Kardiologie und Pneumologie, Universität Göttingen, Germany. hasenfus@ruf.uni-freiburg.de


The progress made in our understanding of the pathophysiology and treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF) would not have been possible without a number of animal models of heart failure and hypertrophy, each one having unique advantages as well as disadvantages. The species and interventions used to create CHF depends on the scientific question as well as on factors such as ethical and economical considerations, accessibility and reproducibility or the model. How closely the model should mimic the human syndrome of CHF depends on the scientific question under investigation. If the goal is to study pathophysiological processes like remodeling or the function of subcellular systems such as excitation contraction-coupling processes, contractile protein function or energetics, the model of heart failure should mimic the clinical setting as closely as possible. However, if defined causal connections are under investigation such as structure-function analyses or regulation of gene expression, exact reflection of the clinical setting by the animal model may be less important. In this review, animal models of heart failure are discussed with particular focus on similarities between the animal model and the failing human heart regarding myocardial function as well as molecular and subcellular mechanisms. In addition, new models of heart failure and hypertrophy, and finally some recent animal models of myocarditis are reviewed.

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