Pig helping diabetes and infertility research

Mon, 03 Apr 2006
A very special species of pig is helping researchers at both Purdue and Indiana universities. The teams are studying human diabetes and research. The pigs, a species called Ossabaws, actually have a genetic predisposition to metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is often regarded as being the precursor of type 2 diabetes, and carries the symptoms of both obesity and insulin resistance. Other symptoms include hypertension, high levels of triglycerides and bad cholesterol.

Symptoms of metabolic syndrome are also indicative of polycistic ovary syndrome, an illness that causes infertility in some women. Biologists at Purdue are studying the Ossabaw pig to find links between the two syndromes, in what could be the first stages of a cure for infertility.

The Ossabaw herd being studied is the only breeding group of this species, and therefore could be key in uncovering treatment for polycistic ovary syndrome. One expert conducting the study was reported as saying: "PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women, and it's exacerbated by obesity, which is rampant in this country. Women with PCOS often have metabolic syndrome and obesity, so they are seven times more likely to have cardiovascular disease than a healthy female. If we could figure out how to successfully cure PCOS, then not only could we alleviate a common form of infertility, but we also may be able to prevent cardiovascular disease in many women."

Ossabaw pigs were said to be good models of human disease.
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