Serial inbreeding of rabbits with hereditary hyperlipidemia (WHHL-rabbit)

Atherosclerosis. 1980 Jun;36(2):261-8. doi: 10.1016/0021-9150(80)90234-8.


The WHHL-rabbit (Watanabe-heritable hyperlipidemic rabbit) is a strain of rabbit with a consistently inherited hyperlipidemic trait produced by inbreeding from a mutant discovered in 1973. (1) The alleles for this trait have been inherited unfailingly to yield a total of 154 WHHL-rabbits to date. (2) These rabbits showed abnormally increased serum levels of cholesterol (S-Ch) and triglyceride (S-TG) at various ages, increased approximately 8- to 14-fold in comparison with control levels in normal Japanese white rabbits. The serum lipoproteins displayed an electrophoretic pattern characterized by a broad beta-lipoprotein band a markedly diminished alpha-lipoprotein band. (3) Necropsy examination performed on 75 WHHL-rabbits showed spontaneous development of aortic atherosclerosis in all cases over 5 months of age (63/63) and xanthoma of digital joints in 60% of cases from the ages of about 16 months.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Hyperlipidemias / genetics*
  • Inbreeding*
  • Rabbits
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Xanthomatosis / etiology*


  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol