A Pig Model of the Preterm Neonate: Anthropometric and Physiological Characteristics

Yvonne A. Eiby, Layne L. Wright, Viskasari P. Kalanjati, Stephanie M. Miller, Stella T. Bjorkman, Helen L. Keates, Eugenie R. Lumbers, Paul B. Colditz, Barbara E. Lingwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


Background:Large animal models are an essential tool in the development of rationally-based new clinical therapies for preterm infants. We provide a description of the newborn pig as a model of the preterm neonate in terms of growth parameters, physiology and the requirement for intensive care over a range of gestational ages.Methods:Twenty-nine litters of piglets (n = 298) were delivered by caesarean section at six timepoints during gestation from 91d to 113d (term = 115d). Two groups, at 91 and 97d gestation, also received maternal glucocorticoid treatment. At four of these timepoints, piglets (n = 79) were ventilated, sedated and monitored using standard neonatal intensive care techniques for up to 8 h in various experimental protocols.Results:Body weight increased from mean 697 g (SD 193) at 91d gestation to 1331 g (SD 368) at 113d gestation. Piglets delivered at 97d gestation were able to be resuscitated and kept alive for at least 8 h on respiratory support after surfactant administration. Maternal glucocorticoid treatment 48 h and 24 h hours prior to delivery reduced the requirement for ventilator support and improved cardiovascular stability.Conclusion:The pig provides a relevant model for the study of human preterm physiology and for investigation of novel therapies to improve outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere68763
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


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