Large animal models are essential for the development of novel therapeutics for myocardial infarction. To optimize translation, we need to assess the effect of experimental design on disease outcome and model experimental design to resemble the clinical course of MI. The aim of this study is therefore to systematically investigate how experimental decisions affect outcome measurements in large animal MI models. We used control animal-data from two independent meta-analyses of large animal MI models. All variables of interest were pre-defined. We performed univariable and multivariable meta-regression to analyze whether these variables influenced infarct size and ejection fraction. Our analyses incorporated 246 relevant studies. Multivariable meta-regression revealed that infarct size and cardiac function were influenced independently by choice of species, sex, co-medication, occlusion type, occluded vessel, quantification method, ischemia duration and follow-up duration. We provide strong systematic evidence that commonly used endpoints significantly depend on study design and biological variation. This makes direct comparison of different study-results difficult and calls for standardized models. Researchers should take this into account when designing large animal studies to most closely mimic the clinical course of MI and enable translational success.
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