European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 9 - Number 2
Eur J Anat, 9 (2): 67-87 (2005)

The coronary circulation of the pig heart: Comparison with the human heart

Rodrigues M., Silva A.C., Aguas A.P., Grande N.R.

Department of Anatomy, ICBAS (Abel Salazar Institute for Biomedical Science), University of Porto, Portugal; Department of Anatomy, ICBAS, UP, Largo Prof. Abel Salazar 2, 4099-003 Porto, Portugal

ABSTRACT Over the last decades, the pig has been chosen as a feasible animal organ donor for the human species, namely regarding heart transplantation. This has led to the development of transgenic pigs with the goal of avoiding the rejection caused by xenotransplantation. It is therefore pertinent to characterize in detail the vascular anatomy of the pig heart and compare it with that of humans. In this study, 23 hearts from domestic pigs were subjected to two different anatomical techniques (resin vascular casting and injection/dissection with contrast suspension) in order to visualize their coronary circulation. After defining the arterial distribution and anastomoses of the branches of the coronary arteries of the pig, these features were compared with well-established descriptions of the coronary circulation in human hearts. The main contributions of this work are: (i) new features of the coronary vessels of the pig heart are documented; (ii) there is close resemblance in the architecture of the coronary arteries between the pig and humans; (iii) the frequency of anatomical variation in the arrangement of the coronary arteries is lower in the pig than in humans.

Keywords: anatomical variation, angiology, animal tissue, article, coronary artery blood flow, coronary blood vessel, cytoarchitecture, electron microscopy, graft rejection, heart transplantation, histology, human, human tissue, human versus animal comparison, nonhuman, organ donor, swine, xenotransplantation

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)