Porcine models of digestive disease: the future of large animal translational research

Transl Res. 2015 Jul;166(1):12-27. doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2015.01.004. Epub 2015 Jan 13.


There is increasing interest in nonrodent translational models for the study of human disease. The pig, in particular, serves as a useful animal model for the study of pathophysiological conditions relevant to the human intestine. This review assesses currently used porcine models of gastrointestinal physiology and disease and provides a rationale for the use of these models for future translational studies. The pig has proven its utility for the study of fundamental disease conditions such as ischemia-reperfusion injury, stress-induced intestinal dysfunction, and short bowel syndrome. Pigs have also shown great promise for the study of intestinal barrier function, surgical tissue manipulation and intervention, as well as biomaterial implantation and tissue transplantation. Advantages of pig models highlighted by these studies include the physiological similarity to human intestine and mechanisms of human disease. Emerging future directions for porcine models of human disease include the fields of transgenics and stem cell biology, with exciting implications for regenerative medicine.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Digestive System Diseases / etiology*
  • Digestive System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / anatomy & histology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / blood supply
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / injuries
  • Humans
  • Intestines / transplantation
  • Reperfusion Injury / etiology
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / etiology
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / therapy
  • Species Specificity
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Swine
  • Translational Research, Biomedical
  • Wound Healing