A Novel Porcine Model for Future Studies of Cell-enriched Fat Grafting

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Cell-enriched fat grafting has shown promising results for improving graft survival, although many questions remain unanswered. A large animal model is crucial for bridging the gap between rodent studies and human trials. We present a step-by-step approach in using the Göttingen minipig as a model for future studies of cell-enriched large volume fat grafting.


Fat grafting was performed as bolus injections and structural fat grafting. Graft retention was assessed by magnetic resonance imaging after 120 days. The stromal vascular fraction (SVF) was isolated from excised fat and liposuctioned fat from different anatomical sites and analyzed. Porcine adipose-derived stem/stromal cells (ASCs) were cultured in different growth supplements, and population doubling time, maximum cell yield, expression of surface markers, and differentiation potential were investigated.


Structural fat grafting in the breast and subcutaneous bolus grafting in the abdomen revealed average graft retention of 53.55% and 15.28%, respectively, which are similar to human reports. Liposuction yielded fewer SVF cells than fat excision, and abdominal fat had the most SVF cells/g fat with SVF yields similar to humans. Additionally, we demonstrated that porcine ASCs can be readily isolated and expanded in culture in allogeneic porcine platelet lysate and fetal bovine serum and that the use of 10% porcine platelet lysate or 20% fetal bovine serum resulted in population doubling time, maximum cell yield, surface marker profile, and trilineage differentiation that were comparable with humans.


The Göttingen minipig is a feasible and cost-effective, large animal model for future translational studies of cell-enriched fat grafting.

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