Why Swine?

Comparative Anatomy
and Physiology of the Pig

Swine are used as general surgical models of most organs and systems, for cardiovascular research including atherosclerosis, for digestive system models, and in recent years in transplantation and xenografic research. Hand-in-hand with this increase in the number of swine in research, have come technical developments in surgery, anesthesia, husbandry and handling techniques. These technical advancements have made it easier to use this species in research and have also improved the humane care and use of swine by research institutions worldwide.

Read the complete article with extensive information on each anatomical area of swine and their correlation to the human anatomy. 

Published by:
United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service

National Agricultural Library-Animal Welfare Information Center



Image of Joan Lunney, Immunogeneticist.Swine have proven to be particularly effective in biomedical research for human disease because of their genetic makeup. Their comparative anatomy and physiology closely resemble that of humans making them excellent matches for research in gene and cell therapy, xenograft and allograft procedures and other types of regenerative medicine.This fact has enabled swine-based research to achieve more relevant and significant findings than research using other animals such as rats or rabbits. Emerging technology of decellularization/recellularization has progressed to using porcine organs and tissue with positive results.

The importance of this medical research is substantial, given the medical applications for human knowledge and advancement. Ultimately, it can help us have a better understanding of our own biological functions, needs and treatments. Swine have been used in biomedical research in a variety of areas: cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, metabolic, liver, reproductive and infectious disease. They have also helped researchers learn more about drug addiction and wound healing. Midwest Research Swine has provided High Health Status swine for research studies in arteriosclerosis, heart transplants, bioprosthesis heart valves, intestinal transplants, diabetes and pancreatic transplants, liver transplants, uterine cell physiology, bronchial and tracheal stent, renal transplants, immune and antibiotic and vaccine trials.