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Porcine models

Porcine models have been used in research for decades due to their anatomical and physiological similarities to humans.  Furthermore, pigs are, like humans, omnivorous. For these reasons, pigs have been broadly used in research areas such as diabetes, obesity and islet transplantation (Minali-Nejad et al. 2014; Vodicka et al. 2005).

Islet cell transplantation has long been considered a potential cure for type 1 diabetes. The shortage of human donors and difficulty in isolating purified islets from adult human pancreata has drawn attention to the use of porcine islets. Pig and human insulin are structurally similar, and the regulation of insulin secretion in pigs resembles that of humans. Thus, pigs have not only served as an important translational model for diabetes but porcine islets are also used in xenotransplantation studies. To investigate the viability of the transplanted islets, parameters such as insulin and c-peptide are measured (Bogdani et al. 2005; Dufrane et al. 2006; Groth et al. 2000; Klymiuk et al. 2012; Korsgren et al. 1991). Moreover, the Mercodia Porcine C-peptide ELISA is an assay optimized specifically for porcine C-peptide without cross-reactivity to proinsulin or insulin. There is also no cross-reactivity to C- peptide in human, macaque, rat or mouse samples, which makes it possible to distinguish porcine C-peptide produced by transplanted islets from exogenously administered insulin in serum or plasma samples.


  1. Bogdani M et al. (2005) Growth and Functional Maturation of beta-cells in Implants of Endocrine Cells Purified From Prenatal Porcine Pancreas. Diabetes 54:3387-3394.
  2. Dufrane D et al. (2006) Parameters favouring successful adult pig islet isolations for xenotransplantation in pig-to-primate models. Xenotransplantation 13:204-214.
  3. Groth CG et al. (2000) Clinical aspects and perspectives in islet xenotransplantation. J Hepat Pancreat Surg 7:364-369.
  4. Klymiuk N et al. (2012) Xenografted Islet Cell Clusters From INSLEA29Y Transgenic Pigs Rescue Diabetes and Prevent Immune Rejection in Humanized Mice. Diabetes 61:1527-32.
  5. Korsgren O et al. (1991) Functional and morphological differentiation of fetal porcine islet-like cell clusters after transplantation into nude mice. Diabetologia 34:379-386.
  6. Milani-Nejad N et al. (2014) Small and large animal models in cardiac contraction research: Advantages and disadvantages. Pharmacol Ther 141:235-49.
  7. Ramsay TG et al. (2004) Peripheral leptin administration alters hormone and metabolite levels in the young pig. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 138:17-25.