The worldwide prevalence of diabetes mellitus and obesity is rapidly increasing not only in adults but also in children and adolescents. Diabetes is associated with macrovascular complications increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as microvascular complications leading to diabetic nephropathy, retinopathy and neuropathy. Animal models are essential for studying disease mechanisms and for developing and testing diagnostic procedures and therapeutic strategies. Rodent models are most widely used but have limitations in translational research. Porcine models have the potential to bridge the gap between basic studies and clinical trials in human patients. This article provides an overview of concepts for the development of porcine models for diabetes and obesity research, with a focus on genetically engineered models. Diabetes-associated ocular, cardiovascular and renal alterations observed in diabetic pig models are summarized and their similarities with complications in diabetic patients are discussed. Systematic multi-organ biobanking of porcine models of diabetes and obesity and molecular profiling of representative tissue samples on different levels, e.g., on the transcriptome, proteome, or metabolome level, is proposed as a strategy for discovering tissue-specific pathomechanisms and their molecular key drivers using systems biology tools. This is exemplified by a recent study providing multi-omics insights into functional changes of the liver in a transgenic pig model for insulin-deficient diabetes mellitus. Collectively, these approaches will provide a better understanding of organ crosstalk in diabetes mellitus and eventually reveal new molecular targets for the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes mellitus and its associated complications.

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Keywords Biobank, Cardiomyopathy, Complications, Diabetes, Multi-omics analysis, Nephropathy, Obesity, Organ crosstalk, Pig model, Retinopathy
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00441-019-03158-9, hdl.handle.net/1765/124073
Journal Cell and Tissue Research
Citation
Renner, S. (Simone), Blutke, A. (Andreas), Clauss, S. (Sebastian), Deeg, C.A. (Cornelia A.), Kemter, E. (Elisabeth), Merkus, D, … Wolf, E. (Eckhard). (2020). Porcine models for studying complications and organ crosstalk in diabetes mellitus. Cell and Tissue Research. doi:10.1007/s00441-019-03158-9