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Transgenic Res. 2014 Feb;23(1):27-38. doi: 10.1007/s11248-013-9755-y. Epub 2013 Sep 25.

Genetically engineered pig models for diabetes research.

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Chair of Molecular Animal Breeding and Biotechnology, Gene Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit√§t M√ľnchen, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 25, 81377, Munich, Germany,


Diabetes mellitus (DM) has emerged into a steadily increasing health problem and the predicted future dimension of the global DM epidemic is alarming: an increase from currently 346 million to over 400 million affected people worldwide by the year 2030 was extrapolated. Thus concerted research efforts are imperative to gain insight into disease mechanisms and to expand the basis for development of preventive and therapeutic strategies. Diabetic rodent models have traditionally been used to follow these goals, but have limitations for translational research. The pig is another classical animal model for diabetes research. Genetic engineering now facilitates tailoring pig models which mimic human disease mechanisms at the molecular level. This article reviews the existing genetically engineered pig models for diabetes research and their current and future applications. Further, the potential role of the pig as donor of pancreatic islets for xenotransplantation or as host for growing human pancreas is outlined.

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