Animal models of sudden infant death syndrome
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the most common cause of postneonatal infant mortality in the developed world. It is a diagnosis of exclusion, defined as the sudden and unexplained death of an infant between 1 month and 1 year of life. Examination of specific pathology may be possible only in an animal model. The three animal models most commonly used in SIDS research to examine risk factors are the piglet, neonatal rabbit, and neonatal rat. We also describe a developmental rat model of sudden unexplained death in response to viral and bacterial infections. This model offers a unique way to evaluate the role of immune development and its relationship to potential risk factors believed to be important in the etiology of SIDS. © 2008 Humana Press Inc.
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