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Comp Med. 2001 Aug;51(4):292-9.

Sheep model in orthopedic research: a literature review.

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Experimental Surgery Department, Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute, Bologna, Italy.


The aim of the study reported here was to provide some basic and general information on the suitability of an experimental sheep model for conducting in vivo orthopedic studies. The authors have classified the fundamental aspects that should be carefully evaluated when using sheep as an experimental model in orthopedic research: factors strictly related to bone anatomy and formation; and factors strictly affecting bone physiology, such as gastrointestinal mineral and vitamin absorption, and reproductive cycle. Future investigations should address all of the aspects highlighted, since there is no animal with the same anatomic, biochemical, physiologic, and biological characteristics as those of human beings. Moreover, useful data for treating orthopedic patients are based not only on good planning and study design, but also on perfect knowledge of the animal used and the differences between the model and the human being. The authors hope that this report will contribute to extrapolation of reliable data for use of sheep in the orthopedics field.

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