Porcine haptoglobin (Hp) is an acute phase protein. Its plasma level increases significantly during inflammation and infection. One of the main functions of Hp is to bind free hemoglobin (Hb) and inhibit its oxidative activity. In the present report, we studied the Hp phenotype of Taiwanese Lanyu miniature pigs (TLY minipigs; n=43) and found their Hp structure to be a homodimer (beta-alpha-alpha-beta) similar to human Hp 1-1. Interestingly, Western blot and high performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) analysis showed that 25% of the TLY minipigs possessed low or no plasma Hp level (<0.05 mg/ml). The Hp cDNA of these TLY minipigs was then cloned, and the translated amino acid sequence was analyzed. No sequences were found to be deficient; they showed a 99.7% identity with domestic pigs (NP_999165). The mean overall Hp level of the TLY minipigs (0.21 +/- 0.25 mg/ml; n=43) determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was markedly lower than that of domestic pigs (0.78 +/- 0.45 mg/ml; p<0.001), while 25% of the TLY minipigs had an Hp level that was extremely low (<0.05 mg/ml). In addition, the initial recovery rate (first 40 min) in the circulation of infused fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-Hb was significantly higher in the TLY minipigs with extremely low Hp levels than those with high levels. This data suggests that the low concentration of Hp-Hb complex is responsible for the higher recovery rate of Hb in the circulation. TLY minipigs have been used as an experimental model for cardiovascular diseases; whether they can be used as a model for inflammatory diseases, with Hp as a marker, remains a topic of interest. However, since the Hp level varies significantly among individual TLY minipigs, it is necessary to prescreen the Hp levels of the animals to minimize variation in the experimental baseline. The present study may provide a reference value for future use of the TLY minipig as an animal model for inflammation-associated diseases.
The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 70(4):379-87