Miniature swine as a clinically relevant model of graft-versus-host disease

Raimon Duran-Struuck, Christene A. Huang, Katherine Orf, Roderick T. Bronson, David H. Sachs, Thomas R. Spitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Miniature swine provide a preclinical model of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for studies of graft-versus-host disease. HCT between MHC-matched or -mismatched pigs can be performed to mimic clinical scenarios with outcomes that closely resemble those observed in human HCT recipients. With myeloablative conditioning, HCT across MHC barriers is typically fatal, with pigs developing severe (grade III or IV) GVHD involving the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and skin. Unlike rodent models, miniature swine provide an opportunity to perform extended longitudinal studies on individual animals, because multiple tissue biopsies can be harvested without the need for euthanasia. In addition, we have developed a swine GVHD scoring system that parallels that used in the human clinical setting. Given the similarities of GVHD in pigs and humans, we hope that the use of this scoring system facilitates clinical and scientific discourse between the laboratory and the clinic. We anticipate that results of swine studies will support the development of new strategies to improve the identification and treatment of GVHD in clinical HCT scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-443
Number of pages15
JournalComparative Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


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