Porcine Model of Infrarenal Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

J Vis Exp. 2019 Nov 21:(153). doi: 10.3791/60169.


Large animal models to study abdominal aortic aneurysms are sparse. The purpose of this model is to create reproducible, clinically significant infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) in swine. To achieve this, we use a combination of balloon angioplasty, elastase and collagenase, and a lysyl oxidase inhibitor, called β-aminopropionitrile (BAPN), to create clinically significant infrarenal aortic aneurysms, analogous to human disease. Noncastrated male swine are fed BAPN for 7 days prior to surgery to achieve a steady state in the blood. A midline laparotomy is performed and the infrarenal aorta is circumferentially dissected. An initial measurement is recorded prior to aneurysm induction with a combination of balloon angioplasty, elastase (500 units)/collagenase (8000 units) perfusion, and topical elastase application. Swine are fed BAPN daily until terminal procedure on either postoperative day 7, 14, or 28, at which time the aneurysm is measured, and tissue procured. BAPN + surgery pigs are compared to pigs that underwent surgery alone. Swine treated with BAPN and surgery had a mean aortic dilation of 89.9% ± 47.4% at day 7, 105.4% ± 58.1% at day 14, and 113.5% ± 30.2% at day 28. Pigs treated with surgery alone had significantly smaller aneurysms compared to BAPN + surgery animals at day 28 (p < 0.0003). The BAPN + surgery group had macroscopic and immunohistochemical evidence of end stage aneurysmal disease. Clinically significant infrarenal AAA can be induced using balloon angioplasty, elastase/collagenase perfusion and topical application, supplemented with oral BAPN. This model creates large, clinically significant AAA with hallmarks of human disease. This has important implications for the elucidation of AAA pathogenesis and testing of novel therapies and devices for the treatment of AAA. Limitations of the model include variation in BAPN ingested by swine, quality of elastase perfusion, and cost of BAPN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Aminopropionitrile
  • Angioplasty, Balloon
  • Animals
  • Aorta, Abdominal
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal* / chemically induced
  • Collagenases
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pancreatic Elastase
  • Renal Circulation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / chemically induced
  • Swine Diseases / etiology*


  • Aminopropionitrile
  • Pancreatic Elastase
  • Collagenases