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J Surg Res. 2011 Mar;166(1):e59-69. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2010.10.014. Epub 2010 Nov 12.

A clinically applicable porcine model of septic and ischemia/reperfusion-induced shock and multiple organ injury.

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Department of Surgery, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse New York 13210, USA.



Although many sepsis treatments have shown efficacy in acute animal models, at present only activated protein C is effective in humans. The likely reason for this discrepancy is that most of the animal models used for preclinical testing do not accurately replicate the complex pathogenesis of human sepsis. Our objective in this study was to develop a clinically applicable model of severe sepsis and gut ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) that would cause multiple organ injury over a period of 48 h.


Anesthetized, instrumented, and ventilated pigs were subjected to a "two-hit" injury by placement of a fecal clot through a laparotomy and by clamping the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) for 30 min. The animals were monitored for 48 h. Wide spectrum antibiotics and intravenous fluids were given to maintain hemodynamic status. FiO(2) was increased in response to oxygen desaturation. Twelve hours following injury, a drain was placed in the laparotomy wound. Extensive hemodynamic, lung, kidney, liver, and renal function measurements and serial measurements of arterial and mixed venous blood gases were made. Bladder pressure was measured as a surrogate for intra-peritoneal pressure to identify the development of the abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS). Plasma and peritoneal ascites cytokine concentration were measured at regular intervals. Tissues were harvested and fixed at necropsy for detailed morphometric analysis.


Polymicrobial sepsis developed in all animals. There was a progressive deterioration of organ function over the 48 h. The lung, kidney, liver, and intestine all demonstrated clinical and histopathologic injury. Acute lung injury (ALI) and ACS developed by consensus definitions. Increases in multiple cytokines in serum and peritoneal fluid paralleled the dysfunction found in major organs.


This animal model of Sepsis+I/R replicates the systemic inflammation and dysfunction of the major organ systems that is typically seen in human sepsis and trauma patients. The model should be useful in deciphering the complex pathophysiology of septic shock as it transitions to end-organ injury thus allowing sophisticated preclinical studies on potential treatments.

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