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A Common Link Between Minipigs and Humans

Image of a mini pig being held by a technician.

The minipig has gained favor in pharmaceutical development programs due to its physiological similarity to humans (skin structure and digestive, cardiovascular, and urinary systems), availability, known disease status, and feasibility of genetic and phenotypic manipulation.1 Minipigs also experience fewer species-specific adverse reactions to compound classes than other large animal models, making them a viable alternative in those cases. As such, regulatory authorities accept the minipig as a suitable nonrodent species to use in safety evaluation assessment and efficacy studies of pharmaceutical products when scientifically appropriate.

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The Minipig as a Model for Drug Transfer into Breast Milk

We’ve used the Göttingen Minipig to gain insight into milk transfer of test articles and to evaluate its effects on suckling piglets. In milk transfer studies, as in other toxicity studies, we aim for collection of blood and milk samples at specific time points following dosing. For several reasons, this can be very challenging in the Göttingen Minipig sow. The most important thing is that the sow is properly socialized and habituated to the technicians involved in milk sampling.

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Continuous Bladder Infusion in Göttingen Minipigs

Our site in Copenhagen has also established a model in Göttingen Minipigs that allows 24 hours of continuous infusion into the bladder over five consecutive days. The model was established in order to combine continuous infusion for 24 hours with the opportunity to take urine samples, and this is achieved using a three-way catheter which allows concurrent infusion and sampling.

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1Ganderup NC, Harvey W, Mortensen JT, Harrouk W. The minipig as nonrodent species in toxicology – Where are we now? Intl J of Toxicol. 2012 Nov/Dec; 31:507528