Background: Animal models used to gain insight into the vascular response to drug-eluting stents are generally juvenile and nonatherosclerotic, whereas stents are placed in patients with complex atherosclerosis and comorbidities. Hence, models reflecting these complexities are needed to help elucidate the vascular effects of drug-eluting stents. We compared the vascular responses with bare metal stent (BMS) and paclitaxel-eluting stent (PES) implantation in a diabetic/hypercholesterolemic (DM/HC) porcine model of advanced coronary atherosclerosis with the standard juvenile porcine model.
Methods and results: Two studies using similar stent procedural protocols were performed in either DM/HC (n=20) or domestic swine (non-DM/HC, n=20). Animals pretreated with dual-antiplatelet therapy, underwent BMS or PES implantation (1/artery, 2 stents per animal) and were euthanized 30 or 90 days later. DM/HC resulted in a 24% increase in platelet aggregation (P=0.05 versus baseline), whereas dual-antiplatelet therapy reduced platelet aggregation in both groups (P<0.0001). DM/HC pigs developed substantially greater neointimal area versus non-DM/HC pigs, regardless of stent type, (P=0.004 for BMS at 30 days and P=0.002 at 90 days, P=0.005 for PES at 30 days, P=0.002 at 90 days). Compared with non-DM/HC pigs, reendothelialization was delayed in DM/HC pigs, more so after PES implantation. Increased para-strut leukocytes were observed for PES compared with BMS in the DM/HC pigs at both 30 days (P=0.023) and 90 days (P=0.04). As well, increased T-lymphocyte infiltration was seen in the DM/HC pigs.
Conclusions: Stent implantation in a DM/HC swine model provides a metabolic environment closer to human disease, including hyperglycemia, hypercholesterolemia, and increased platelet aggregation. This model augmented differences in the vascular response between PES and BMS that are not as clearly evident in the non-DM/HC swine, including increased neointimal area, delayed reendothelialization, and greater, persistent vascular inflammation.