Translational value of preclinical models for renal denervation: a histological comparison of human versus porcine renal nerve anatomy

Yu Sato, Andrew S.P. Sharp, Felix Mahfoud, Stefan Tunev, Ashley Forster, Matthew Ellis, Ana Gomez, Roma Dhingra, Jeremy Ullman, Markus Schlaich, David Lee, Julie Trudel, Douglas A. Hettrick, David E. Kandzari, Renu Virmani, Aloke V. Finn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Preclinical models have provided key insights into the response of local tissues to radiofrequency (RF) renal denervation (RDN) that is unobtainable from human studies. However, the anatomic translatability of these models to the procedure in humans is incompletely understood.  Aims: We aimed to compare the renal arterial anatomy in normotensive pigs treated with RF-RDN to that of human cadavers to evaluate the suitability of normotensive pigs for determining the safety of RF-RDN. METHODS: Histopathologic analyses were performed on RF-treated renal arteries in a porcine model and untreated control renal arteries. Similar analyses were performed on untreated renal arteries from human cadavers.  Results: In both human and porcine renal arteries, the median number of nerves was lower in the more distal sections (the numbers in the proximal, middle, distal, 1st bifurcation, and 2nd bifurcation sections were 65, 58, 47, 22.5, and 14.7 in humans, respectively, and 39, 26, 29, 16.5, and 9.3 in the porcine models, respectively). Renal nerves were common in the regions between arteries and adjacent veins, but only 3% and 13% of the renal nerves in humans and pigs, respectively, were located behind the renal vein. The semiquantitative score of RF-induced renal arterial nerve necrosis was significantly greater at 7 days than 28 days (0.98 vs 0.75; p=0.01), and injury to surrounding organs was rarely observed. CONCLUSIONS: The distribution of nerve tissue and the relative distribution of extravascular anatomic structures along the renal artery was similar between humans and pigs, which validates the translational value of the normotensive porcine model for RDN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1120-e1128
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2023


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