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Establishment of an Animal Model of Vascular Restenosis with Bilateral Carotid Artery Grafting

Ruixiong Li, Bin Lan, Tianxiang Zhu, Yanlong Yang, Muting Wang, Chensheng Ma, Shu Chen

Department of Cardiac-Thoracic Surgery, Shantou Central Hospital / Affiliated Shantou Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Shantou, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:2846-2854

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.891303

Available online:

Published: 2014-12-31

Background: Vascular restenosis occurring after CABG is a major clinical problem that needs to be addressed. Vein grafts are associated with a higher degree of stenosis than artery grafts. However, the mechanism responsible for this effect has not been elucidated. We aimed to establish a rabbit model of vascular restenosis after bilateral carotid artery grafting, and to investigate the associated spatiotemporal changes of intimal hyperplasia in carotid artery and jugular vein grafts after surgery.
Material and Methods: Twenty adult New Zealand white rabbits (10 males; 10 females), weighing 2.0–2.5 kg, were obtained from the Experimental Animal Center of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China (License No.: scxk-Guangdong-2006-0015). We quantitatively analyzed intimal thickness, area, and degree of stenosis in carotid artery and jugular vein bridges.
Results: After 8 weeks of a high-fat diet, rabbit carotid arteries showed early atherosclerotic lesions. With increasing time after surgery, carotid artery and jugular vein grafts showed histopathological and morphological changes, including smooth muscle cell migration, lipid deposition, intimal hyperplasia, and vascular stenosis. The degree of vascular stenosis was significantly higher in vein grafts than in artery grafts at all time points – 35.1±6.7% vs. 16.1±2.6% at Week 12, 56.2±8.5% vs. 23.4±3.4% at Week 16, and 71.2±1.3% vs. 25.2±5.3% at Week 20.
Conclusions: Rabbit bilateral carotid arteries were grafted with carotid artery and jugular vein bridges to simulate pathophysiological processes that occur in people after CABG surgery.

Keywords: Animals, Atherosclerosis - therapy, Carotid Arteries - ultrastructure, Diet, High-Fat, Disease Models, Animal, Graft Occlusion, Vascular - surgery, Jugular Veins - ultrastructure, Rabbits