Investigating the Metabolic Syndrome: Contributions of Swine Models

Toxicol Pathol. 2016 Apr;44(3):358-66. doi: 10.1177/0192623316630835. Epub 2016 Mar 1.


The metabolic syndrome (MetS), a cluster of dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes and an important contributor to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, occurs in nearly 35% of adults and 50% of the aging population in the United States. However, the underlying mechanisms by which MetS orchestrates and amplifies cardiovascular events remain elusive. Furthermore, traditional therapeutic strategies addressing lifestyle modifications and individual components of MetS are often unsuccessful in decreasing morbidity due to MetS. The availability of an adequate experimental platform that mimics the complexity of MetS may allow development of novel management techniques. Swine models, including domestic pigs and minipigs, have made important contributions to our understanding of many aspects of MetS. Given their similarity to human anatomy and physiology, those models may have significant predictive power for elucidating the pathophysiology of MetS in a manner applicable to humans. Moreover, experimental maneuvers and drugs can be tested in these preclinical models before application in patients with MetS. This review highlights the utility of the pig as an animal model for metabolic disorders, which may play a crucial role in novel drug development to optimize management of MetS.

Keywords: adiposity; hypertension; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; swine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Hypertension
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Metabolic Syndrome*
  • Swine*