Nervous System Sampling for General Toxicity and Neurotoxicity Studies in the Laboratory Minipig With Emphasis on the Göttingen Minipig

Toxicol Pathol. 2021 Aug;49(6):1140-1163. doi: 10.1177/01926233211019941.


The use of minipigs as an alternative nonclinical species has increased in the last 20 years. The Society of Toxicologic Pathology (STP) has produced generic "best practice" recommendations for nervous system sampling in nonrodents during general toxicity studies (Toxicol Pathol 41[7]: 1028-1048, 2013), but their adaptation to the minipig has not been attempted. Here, we describe 2 trimming schemes suitable for evaluating the unique neuroanatomic features of the minipig brain in nonclinical toxicity studies. The first scheme is intended for general toxicity studies (Tier 1) to screen agents with unknown or no anticipated neurotoxic potential; this approach using 7 coronal hemisections accords with the published STP "best practice" recommendations. The second trimming scheme for neurotoxicity studies (Tier 2) uses 14 coronal hemisections and 2 full coronal sections to investigate toxicants where the nervous system is a suspected or known target organ. Collection of spinal cord, ganglia (somatic and autonomic), and nerves from minipigs during nonclinical studies should follow published STP "best practice" recommendations for sampling the central (CNS, Toxicol Pathol 41[7]: 1028-1048, 2013) and peripheral (PNS, Toxicol Pathol 46[4]: 372-402, 2018) nervous systems.

Keywords: brain sampling; general toxicity studies; minipig; nervous system; neurotoxicity studies; nonclinical studies.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Histological Techniques
  • Laboratories*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes*
  • Spinal Cord
  • Swine
  • Swine, Miniature