The pig as a model for human wound healing

Wound Repair Regen. 2001 Mar-Apr;9(2):66-76. doi: 10.1046/j.1524-475x.2001.00066.x.


The medical literature describes numerous in vitro and in vivo wound-healing models. The selection of an animal model depends on a number of factors including availability, cost, ease of handling, investigator familiarity, and anatomical/functional similarity to humans. Small mammals are frequently used for wound healing studies, however, these mammals differ from humans in a number of anatomical and physiological ways. Anatomically and physiologically, pig skin is more similar to human skin. The many similarities between man and pig would lead one to believe that the pig should make an excellent animal model for human wound healing. The purpose of this paper is to review the existing literature for evidence of this supposition and determine how well the various models correlate to human wound healing. Studies of wound dressings, topical antimicrobials, and growth factors are examined. Over 180 articles were utilized for this comparative review. Our conclusion is that the porcine model is an excellent tool for the evaluation of therapeutic agents destined for use in human wounds.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Burns / surgery
  • Debridement
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / therapeutic use
  • Epidermis / physiology
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / pharmacology
  • Growth Substances / physiology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal*
  • Occlusive Dressings
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Swine
  • Wound Healing*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Growth Substances
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Epidermal Growth Factor