A novel model of atherosclerosis in rabbits using injury to arterial walls induced by ferric chloride as evaluated by optical coherence tomography as well as intravascular ultrasound and histology

J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012;2012:121867. doi: 10.1155/2012/121867. Epub 2012 May 14.


This study aim was to develop a new model of atherosclerosis by FeCl(3)-induced injury to right common carotid arteries (CCAs) of rabbits. Right CCAs were induced in male New Zealand White rabbits (n = 15) by combination of a cholesterol-rich diet and FeCl(3)-induced injury to arterial walls. The right and left CCAs were evaluated by histology and in vivo intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) examinations of 24 hours (n = 3), 8 weeks (n = 6), and 12 weeks (n = 6) after injury. Each right CCA of the rabbits showed extensive white-yellow plaques. At eight and 12 weeks after injury, IVUS, OCT, and histological findings demonstrated that the right CCAs had evident eccentric plaques. Six plaques (50%) with evident positive remodeling were observed. Marked progression was clearly observed in the same plaque at 12 weeks after injury when it underwent repeat OCT and IVUS. We demonstrated, for the first time, a novel model of atherosclerosis induced by FeCl(3). The model is simple, fast, inexpensive, and reproducible and has a high success rate. The eccentric plaques and remodeling of plaques were common in this model. We successfully carried out IVUS and OCT examinations twice in the same lesion within a relatively long period of time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteries / drug effects
  • Arteries / metabolism
  • Arteries / pathology
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology*
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology*
  • Chlorides / administration & dosage
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Ferric Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods*
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Male
  • Rabbits
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / methods*


  • Chlorides
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Ferric Compounds
  • Lipoproteins
  • ferric chloride