Lamb models of pulmonary hypertension

Robin H Steinhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Pulmonary hypertension is a common complication of neonatal respiratory failure, and its pathophysiology is distinct from adult conditions. Fetal sheep and young lambs have been used to develop several relevant animal models for fetal and neonatal pulmonary hypertension. They have numerous advantages, including body size similar to the human neonate, allowing for instrumentation and physiologic study both in utero and after delivery, as well as pulmonary physiology and maturation that is similar to human developmental timelines. This review outlines four models of neonatal pulmonary hypertension in lambs, all of which are created through altering fetal physiology. Three require surgical manipulation of the fetus, including antenatal ductal ligation, creation of congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and placement of aortopulmonary shunts to mimic congenital heart disease with high pulmonary blood flow. A fourth model, created by chronic maternal exposure to hypobaric hypoxia, is also discussed, and may be especially relevant for understanding the influence of fetal insults on adult pulmonary vascular physiology. Each of these models has individual limitations, but all have proved invaluable for the study of neonatal pulmonary hypertension, and have been used extensively to better understand the pathophysiology of the condition as well as for preclinical testing for new therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-105
Number of pages7
JournalDrug Discovery Today: Disease Models
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Molecular Medicine


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