Validation of the murine aortic arch as a model to study human vascular diseases
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Veterinary Sciences
Journal of anatomy. - London
, p. 563-571
Although the murine thoracic aorta and its main branches are widely studied to gain more insight into the pathogenesis of human vascular diseases, detailed anatomical data on the murine aorta are sparse. Moreover, comparative studies between mice and men focusing on the topography and geometry of the heart and aorta are lacking. As this hampers the validation of murine vascular models, the branching pattern of the murine thoracic aorta was examined in 30 vascular corrosion casts. On six casts the intrathoracic position of the heart was compared with that of six younger and six older men of whom contrast-enhanced computer tomography images of the thorax were three-dimensionally reconstructed. In addition, the geometry of the human thoracic aorta was compared with that of the mouse by reconstructing micro-computer tomography images of six murine casts. It was found that the right brachiocephalic trunk, left common carotid artery and left subclavian artery branched subsequently from the aortic arch in both mice and men. The geometry of the branches of the murine aortic arch was quite similar to that of men. In both species the initial segment of the aorta, comprising the ascending aorta, aortic arch and cranial/superior part of the descending aorta, was sigmoidally curved on a cranial/superior view. Although some analogy between the intrathoracic position of the murine and human heart was observed, the murine heart manifestly deviated more ventrally. The major conclusion of this study is that, in both mice and men, the ascending and descending aorta do not lie in a single vertical plane (non-planar aortic geometry). This contrasts clearly with most domestic mammals in which a planar aortic pattern is present. As the vascular branching pattern of the aortic arch is also similar in mice and men, the murine model seems valuable to study human vascular diseases.