Comparison of Large Animal Models for Acute Ischemic Stroke: Which Model to Use

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology, New England Center for Stroke Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Cardiovascular Diseases | Disease Modeling | Nervous System Diseases | Radiology


Translation of acute ischemic stroke research to the clinical setting remains limited over the last few decades with only one drug, recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator, successfully completing the path from experimental study to clinical practice. To improve the selection of experimental treatments before testing in clinical studies, the use of large gyrencephalic animal models of acute ischemic stroke has been recommended. Currently, these models include, among others, dogs, swine, sheep, and nonhuman primates that closely emulate aspects of the human setting of brain ischemia and reperfusion. Species-specific characteristics, such as the cerebrovascular architecture or pathophysiology of thrombotic/ischemic processes, significantly influence the suitability of a model to address specific research questions. In this article, we review key characteristics of the main large animal models used in translational studies of acute ischemic stroke, regarding (1) anatomy and physiology of the cerebral vasculature, including brain morphology, coagulation characteristics, and immune function; (2) ischemic stroke modeling, including vessel occlusion approaches, reproducibility of infarct size, procedural complications, and functional outcome assessment; and (3) implementation aspects, including ethics, logistics, and costs. This review specifically aims to facilitate the selection of the appropriate large animal model for studies on acute ischemic stroke, based on specific research questions and large animal model characteristics.


brain ischemia, dogs, models, animal, sheep, stroke, swine

DOI of Published Version



Taha A, Bobi J, Dammers R, Dijkhuizen RM, Dreyer AY, van Es ACGM, Ferrara F, Gounis MJ, Nitzsche B, Platt S, Stoffel MH, Volovici V, Del Zoppo GJ, Duncker DJ, Dippel DWJ, Boltze J, van Beusekom HMM. Comparison of Large Animal Models for Acute Ischemic Stroke: Which Model to Use? Stroke. 2022 Apr;53(4):1411-1422. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.121.036050. Epub 2022 Feb 15. PMID: 35164533. Link to article on publisher's site

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Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

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