Development of a Novel Animal Burn Model Using Radiant Heat in Rats and Swine

Objectives: The objective was to develop a novel animal model of burns in rats and pigs.

Methods: The model uses heat that is delivered via a radiant heater with an opening of 5 cm by 5 cm, set at 400°C, for 20 seconds. An advantage of this model is that the heating source does not come into direct contact with the animal, and the heat dispersion surrounding its center is very constant. The device was evaluated in 40 rats and seven pigs. With rats, three to four burns were created on each rat, resulting in a burn covering a total body surface area of 30% to 50%. In pigs, 16 burns were created on each animal.

Results: In rats, infliction of burns resulted in mortality rates of 0%–50% depending on the size of the burns and the rats. In pigs, the burns reepithelialized within approximately 3 weeks and resulted in hourglass contracted scars in two of three burns within 1 month.

Conclusions: The authors describe a novel animal burn model that utilizes radiant heat to create consistent burns that maximizes safety to the investigators and animals.

ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2010; 17:514–520 © 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Thermal injury remains a major medical problem throughout the world.1 Although many advances have been made in our understanding and care of burn injuries,2 there are numerous unresolved questions concerning the nature and treatment of this injury. A prerequisite to better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of burn injuries and the development of novel burn therapies is the existence of in vivo animal models. A variety of animal models have been reported for scald and contact burns.36 However, many of these models are associated with risk to the investigator. Furthermore, the burn depth and extent may not always be controllable and consistent. To address these gaps, we recently developed a new burn infliction device that was used to establish two different in vivo burn models in swine and rats. This burn device was designed to create a consistent injury without having the heating source coming into direct contact with the animal’s skin. It was also designed to maximize investigator safety. This article describes the use of the novel burn inflicting device in rats and swine.


Study Design

We conducted a prospective animal experiment to evaluate the utility of a new burn infliction device in swine and rats. Animal handling was in accordance with national guidelines. The study was approved by the Ben Gurion University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

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