Rupture of the atherosclerotic plaque: Does a good animal model exist?

Paul Cullen, Roberta Baetta, Stefano Bellosta, Franco Bernini, Giulia Chinetti, Andrea Cignarella, Arnold Von Eckardstein, Andrew Exley, Martin Goddard, Marten Hofker, Eva Hurt-Camejo, Edwin Kanters, Petri Kovanen, Stefan Lorkowski, William McPheat, Markku Pentikäinen, Jürgen Rauterberg, Andrew Ritchie, Bart Staels, Benedikt WeitkampMenno De Winther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


By its very nature, rupture of the atherosclerotic plaque is difficult to study directly in humans. A good animal model would help us not only to understand how rupture occurs but also to design and test treatments to prevent it from happening. However, several difficulties surround existing models of plaque rupture, including the need for radical interventions to produce the rupture, lack of direct evidence of rupture per se, and absence of convincing evidence of platelet- and fibrin-rich thrombus at the rupture site. At the present time, attention should therefore focus on the processes of plaque breakdown and thrombus formation in humans, whereas the use of animal models should probably be reserved for studying the function of particular genes and for investigating isolated features of plaques, such as the relationship between cap thickness and plaque stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-542
Number of pages8
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2003


  • Animal models
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Pathophysiology
  • Plaque rupture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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