Considerations for the use of porcine organ donation models in preclinical organ donor intervention research

Frazer I. Heinis, Shaheed Merani, Nicholas W. Markin, Kim F Duncan, Michael J. Moulton, Lance Fristoe, William E. Thorell, Raechel A. Sherrick, Tami R. Wells, Matthew T. Andrews, Marian Urban

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Use of animal models in preclinical transplant research is essential to the optimization of human allografts for clinical transplantation. Animal models of organ donation and preservation help to advance and improve technical elements of solid organ recovery and facilitate research of ischemia–reperfusion injury, organ preservation strategies, and future donor-based interventions. Important considerations include cost, public opinion regarding the conduct of animal research, translational value, and relevance of the animal model for clinical practice. We present an overview of two porcine models of organ donation: donation following brain death (DBD) and donation following circulatory death (DCD). The cardiovascular anatomy and physiology of pigs closely resembles those of humans, making this species the most appropriate for pre-clinical research. Pigs are also considered a potential source of organs for human heart and kidney xenotransplantation. It is imperative to minimize animal loss during procedures that are surgically complex. We present our experience with these models and describe in detail the use cases, procedural approach, challenges, alternatives, and limitations of each model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnimal Models and Experimental Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • animal model
  • brain death
  • circulatory death
  • organ transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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