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Int J Exp Pathol. 2004 Oct;85(4):223-31.

A minipig model of high-fat/high-sucrose diet-induced diabetes and atherosclerosis.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Nanhua University School of Life Sciences and Technology, Hengyang, Hunan, China.


Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor of the development of atherosclerosis in humans. However, studies examining mechanisms underlying diabetes-accelerated atherosclerosis have been limited by the lack of suitable humanoid animal models. Pigs have a cardiovascular system that is very similar to that of humans and is useful as a model for human physiology and pathophysiology. In this study, we established a new miniature pig model for studying dyslipidaemia and atherosclerosis in diabetes. Chinese Guizhou minipigs were fed a normal control diet or a high-fat/high-sucrose diet (HFSD) for 6 months. Plasma total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride (TG), insulin and glucose were quantified at monthly intervals. The induction of insulin resistance and dysfunction of the pancreatic beta-cell were assessed by oral glucose tolerance test and insulin sensitivity test. The aortic fatty streak lesions were quantified following lipid staining with Sudan IV. During the feeding period, mild high plasma TC and TG were induced. At the end of 6 months, in HFSD-fed animals, the adipocytes were hypertrophic, fat deposit in the liver was observed, loss of pancreatic beta-cells was observed, and the aortic fatty streak lesions were clearly present in the animals' aortas. Our study established that miniature pigs that were fed a HFSD without adding dietary cholesterol developed insulin resistance, mild diabetes and atherosclerotic lesions. HFSD-fed miniature pigs may be good animal models for research on the treatment of diabetic dyslipidaemia complicated with atherosclerosis.

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