Rodents do not naturally develop atherosclerosis and have small-caliber arteries that develop primarily medial lesions under extraordinary dietary conditions that are distinct morphologically from human atheromatous disease. Each of these factors has contributed to an historical consideration that rodents were poor models of atherosclerosis. Hypercholesterolemic hamsters were briefly popular (and are still used occasionally) owing to their ability to develop lesions within the aortic arch that mimic subendothelial foam cell accumulation and that can be studied by en face preparations for quantitative analysis (Nistor et al., 1987). However, the road to the now nearly ubiquitous use of the mouse as the primary model for studying atherosclerosis was paved by the
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