Hepatic blood flow in adult Göttingen minipigs and pre-pubertal Danish Landrace x Yorkshire pigs

Lab Anim. 2021 Aug;55(4):350-357. doi: 10.1177/00236772211000370. Epub 2021 Apr 15.


The liver receives dual blood supply from the hepatic artery and portal vein. The pig is often used as an animal model in positron emission tomography (PET) and pharmacokinetic studies because of the possibility for extensive and direct blood sampling. In this study, we compared measurements of hepatic blood flow in 10 female adult Göttingen minipigs and 10 female pre-pubertal Danish Landrace x Yorkshire (DLY) pigs. Ultrasound transit time flow meter probes were placed around the hepatic artery and portal vein through open surgery, hepatic blood flow measurements were performed, and the liver was weighed. Total hepatic blood flow was on average 363 ± 131 mL blood/min in Göttingen minipigs and 988 ± 180 mL blood/min in DLY pigs (p < 0.001). The mean hepatic blood perfusion was 623 mL blood/min/mL liver tissue and 950 mL blood/min/mL liver tissue (p = 0.005), and the liver weight was 0.58 kg and 1.04 kg, respectively. The mean arterial flow fraction in Göttingen minipigs was 12 ± 7% and lower than in DLY pigs, where it was 24 ± 7% (p = 0.001). Using the gold standard for blood flow measurements, we found that both total hepatic blood flow and blood perfusion were significantly lower in Göttingen minipigs than in DLY pigs. The hepatic blood perfusion and arterial flow fraction in DLY pigs were comparable to normative values from humans. Differences in hepatic blood flow between adult Göttingen minipigs and humans should be considered when performing physiological liver studies in this model.

Keywords: In vivo; animal model; circulatory physiology; hepatology; organisms and models; physiology; pigs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Hepatic Artery* / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver* / diagnostic imaging
  • Swine
  • Swine, Miniature