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Preclinical Models

The Translational Neural Repair and Regeneration Laboratory specializes in utilizing the inherent anatomical similarities between pigs and humans to further understand the underlying pathophysiological processes and test novel therapies for ischemic stroke, traumatic brain injury, and alcoholism. The Translational Neural Repair and Regeneration Laboratory is also available to assist and provide guidance for our clients’ research endeavors even if they fall outside the field of neural repair and regeneration. For more information, please see our additional pig models page.

Pigs possess notable translational advantages due to inherent neuroanatomical similarities including gyrification, large intracranial vessel diameter, and a high white-to-gray matter ratio1,2. Proportionally comparable cerebral volumes between humans and pigs (1273.6 cm3 for men vs. 111.09 cm3 for males) allows for a more direct assessment of therapeutic dosing in a preclinical model3,4. In terms of cytoarchitecture, human and pig brains are composed of >60% white matter5,6. These attributes are critically important as white and gray matter demonstrate different metabolic needs due to neuroanatomical differences. Specifically, neuron-rich gray matter requires 2.5x more ATP and consequently 3-5x more vascularization than white matter7-9. The increased vascularization of gray matter permits some protection following cerebrovascular injury, however the limited collateralization of white matter leaves these tissues particularly susceptible and is a critical factor to consider when modeling human neurological conditions as white matter injury has been linked to both cognitive and functional deficits.

Pigs and humans demonstrate comparative cerebral sizes and gyral complexity. Howells et al., 2010.