Gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome in Göttingen minipigs (Sus Scrofa Domestica)

Thomas B. Elliott, Nicolaas E. Deutz, Jatinder Gulani, Amory Koch, Cara H. Olsen, Christine Christensen, Mark Chappell, Mark H. Whitnall, Maria Moroni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In the absence of supportive care, exposing Göttingen minipigs to γ-radiation doses of less than 2 Gy achieves lethality due to hematopoietic acute radiation syndrome. Doses of 2 to 5 Gy are associated with an accelerated hematopoietic syndrome, characterized by villus blunting and fusion, the beginning of sepsis, and a mild transient reduction in plasma citrulline concentration. We exposed male Göttingen minipigs (age, 5 mo; weight, 9 to 11 kg) to γ-radiation doses of 5 to 12 Gy (total body; 60Co, 0.6 Gy/min) to test whether these animals exhibit classic gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome (GI-ARS). After exposure, the minipigs were monitored for 10 d by using clinical signs, CBC counts, and parameters associated with the development of the gastrointestinal syndrome. Göttingen minipigs exposed to γ radiation of 5 to 12 Gy demonstrate a dose-dependent occurrence of all parameters classically associated with acute GI-ARS. These results suggest that Göttingen minipigs may be a suitable model for studying GIARS after total body irradiation, but the use of supportive care to extend survival beyond 10 d is recommended. This study is the first step toward determining the feasibility of using Göttingen minipigs in testing the efficacy of candidate drugs for the treatment of GI-ARS after total body irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-463
Number of pages8
JournalComparative medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


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