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Open Access Miniature Swine as a Clinically Relevant Model of Graft-Versus-Host Disease

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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.

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Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: 1: Transplantation Biology Research Center, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Department of Pathobiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. [email protected] 2: Transplantation Biology Research Center, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 3: Department of Pathology, Harvard University School of Medicine, USA 4: Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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