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J Card Fail. 1995 Mar;1(2):169-77.

Rat infarct model of myocardial infarction and heart failure.

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Cardiology Section, Tucson VA Medical Center, AZ 85723, USA.


This review outlines the development and current use of the rat coronary artery ligation model of heart failure. The techniques to ligate the left coronary artery and to obtain morphologic/hemodynamic measurements are described. The authors show how the pathology seen in this model relates to clinical ischemic heart disease. An effort is made throughout the review to relate the changes that occur in this model to clinically relevant observations. For example, the progression to heart failure in these rats is similar to what happens when a patient sustains a large myocardial infarction, survives, but goes on to develop heart failure without another ischemic insult. In both rats and people with large infarctions, the noninfarcted myocardium, even though not damaged at the time of the infarct, cannot compensate sufficiently to prevent the eventual development of heart failure. In addition to being a good approximation of human disease, the responses to pharmacologic interventions, like angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, in rats has proved useful in predicting what will happen in humans given the same treatment. More recent data on the molecular control of ventricular remodeling emphasizes how this model will provide important information in the study of integrated physiology by examining biochemical, pharmacologic, and physiologic changes in the same tissue.

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