Necrotizing enterocolitis in a neonatal piglet model

J Pediatr Surg. 1991 May;26(5):598-601. doi: 10.1016/0022-3468(91)90716-7.


The aim of this study was to develop an animal model for necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Twenty-five neonatal Hanford minipigs had carotid artery and external jugular vein catheters and rectal Clinical Tonomitors placed under anesthesia. Experimental animals were subjected to a hypoxic insult (50% reduction in baseline PaO2 for 30 minutes) and hypothermic stress (core temperature reduced to 35 degrees C for 30 minutes). Regular oral diet was resumed and the survivors were euthanized 3 to 4 days later. All animals underwent necropsy with gross and histopathological evaluation of the entire bowel. Of 22 experimental animals, 14 survived (64%) and 8 (36%) died of pulmonary hemorrhage. Of the 14 survivors, 8 (57%) had gross and microscopic evidence of NEC. Six of the total 25 animals (24%) sustained rectal perforations from the tonometer. Of 3 control animals, one died of pulmonary hemorrhage and the two survivors had normal intestine. This model successfully produced gross and histological evidence of NEC. The tonometer shows promise as a predictor of NEC provided technical modifications can reduce the complication rate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous* / etiology
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous* / pathology
  • Hypothermia, Induced
  • Hypoxia / pathology
  • Intestine, Small / pathology
  • Swine
  • Swine, Miniature