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    Lipoprotein mutations in pigs are associated with elevated plasma cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Rapacz J,Hasler-Rapacz J,Taylor K M,Checovich W J,Attie A D Science (New York, N.Y.) A strain of pigs bearing three immunogenetically defined lipoprotein-associated markers (allotypes), designated Lpb5, Lpr1, and Lpu1, has marked hypercholesterolemia on a low fat, cholesterol-free diet. Unlike individuals with familial hypercholesterolemia or WHHL rabbits, the affected pigs have normal low density lipoprotein receptor activity. The animals, by 7 months of age, have extensive atherosclerotic lesions in all three coronary arteries. This strain of pig represents an animal model for atherosclerosis and hypercholesterolemia associated with mutations affecting the structures of plasma lipoproteins. One of the variant apolipoproteins, Lpb5, is apolipoprotein-B. A second variant apolipoprotein (Lpr1), termed apo-R, is a 23-kilodalton protein present in both the very low density (d less than 1.006 g/ml) and the very high density (d greater than 1.21 g/ml) fractions of pig plasma. Isoforms of this protein correlate with two Lpr alleles, Lpr1 and Lpr2. The Lpr genes segregate independently of the Lpb5 and Lpu1 alleles. The Lpu1 allotype is a component of low density lipoprotein and is genetically linked to Lpb5. 10.1126/science.3787263
    Familial hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis in cloned minipigs created by DNA transposition of a human PCSK9 gain-of-function mutant. Al-Mashhadi Rozh H,Sørensen Charlotte B,Kragh Peter M,Christoffersen Christina,Mortensen Martin B,Tolbod Lars P,Thim Troels,Du Yutao,Li Juan,Liu Ying,Moldt Brian,Schmidt Mette,Vajta Gabor,Larsen Torben,Purup Stig,Bolund Lars,Nielsen Lars B,Callesen Henrik,Falk Erling,Mikkelsen Jacob Giehm,Bentzon Jacob F Science translational medicine Lack of animal models with human-like size and pathology hampers translational research in atherosclerosis. Mouse models are missing central features of human atherosclerosis and are too small for intravascular procedures and imaging. Modeling the disease in minipigs may overcome these limitations, but it has proven difficult to induce rapid atherosclerosis in normal pigs by high-fat feeding alone, and genetically modified models similar to those created in mice are not available. D374Y gain-of-function mutations in the proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) gene cause severe autosomal dominant hypercholesterolemia and accelerates atherosclerosis in humans. Using Sleeping Beauty DNA transposition and cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer, we created Yucatan minipigs with liver-specific expression of human D374Y-PCSK9. D374Y-PCSK9 transgenic pigs displayed reduced hepatic low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor levels, impaired LDL clearance, severe hypercholesterolemia, and spontaneous development of progressive atherosclerotic lesions that could be visualized by noninvasive imaging. This model should prove useful for several types of translational research in atherosclerosis. 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004853