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Hum Exp Toxicol. 2002 Sep-Oct;21(9-10):533-6.

The pig as a model of developmental immunology.

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Center of Anatomy (4120), Medical School, Hannover, Germany.


There are many limitations to analyse the developing immune system in humans, thus there is need for experimental animal models to study the environmental influences during the ontogeny of the immune system. However risk assessment is difficult in using rodent models alone, especially as the intrauterine period of development is much shorter than that of humans. In addition to studies in dogs, the pig provides a variety of experimental approaches for developmental immunotoxicology. The gestation period is 115 days and the occurrence of the different lines of T and B lymphocytes in the blood and organs of the porcine embryo and fetus is well documented. Fetal porcine B cells represent a naive population developing without maternal idiotypic-antiidiotypic influences. The postnatal development is highly correlated to sufficient uptake of colostrum during the first 48 hours. Although many immunotoxicological experiments have been performed, there is a limited number of original publications about these studies. With the different strains of standard pigs and miniature pigs available and the rapid growing amount of immunological reagents, the pig represents an important experimental model for cost-effective studies in developmental immunotoxicology to analyse the risk of environmental hazards.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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