Chronic Pancreatitis: Challenges and Advances in Pathogenesis, Genetics, Diagnosis, and Therapy

Department of Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Charité, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Gastroenterology (Impact Factor: 16.72). 05/2007; 132(4):1557-73. DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2007.03.001
Source: PubMed


Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is characterized by progressive pancreatic damage that eventually results in significant impairment of exocrine as well as endocrine functions of the gland. In Western societies, the commonest association of chronic pancreatitis is alcohol abuse. Our understanding of the pathogenesis of CP has improved in recent years, though important advances that have been made with respect to delineating the mechanisms responsible for the development of pancreatic fibrosis (a constant feature of CP) following repeated acute attacks of pancreatic necroinflammation (the necrosis-fibrosis concept). The pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are now established as key cells in fibrogenesis, particularly when activated either directly by toxic factors associated with pancreatitis (such as ethanol, its metabolites or oxidant stress) or by cytokines released during pancreatic necroinflammation. In recent years, research effort has also focused on the genetic abnormalities that may predispose to CP. Genes regulating trypsinogen activation/inactivation and cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) function have received particular attention. Mutations in these genes are now increasingly recognized for their potential 'disease modifier' role in distinct forms of CP including alcoholic, tropical, and idiopathic pancreatitis. Treatment of uncomplicated CP is usually conservative with the major aim being to effectively alleviate pain, maldigestion and diabetes, and consequently, to improve the patient's quality of life. Surgical and endoscopic interventions are reserved for complications such as pseudocysts, abscess, and malignancy.

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    • "Patients must adapt to a lifestyle involving chronic pain management, digestive enzyme replacement, vitamin supplementation, and glucose control [3]. Medical management often fails with advanced disease, and patients are offered more invasive interventions, ranging from endoscopic stenting of strictures to surgical bypass procedures or even total pancreatectomy [15]. There is a definite need to develop pharmacologic agents directed at the pathogenesis of CP, reducing pancreatic damage, inflammation, and fibrosis. "
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is characterized by recurrent pancreatic injury, resulting in inflammation, necrosis, and fibrosis. There are currently no drugs limiting pancreatic fibrosis associated with CP, and there is a definite need to fill this void in patient care. Pancreatitis was induced in C57/BL6 mice using supraphysiologic doses of cerulein, and apigenin treatment (once daily, 50 μg per mouse by oral gavage) was initiated 1 wk into the recurrent acute pancreatitis (RAP) protocol. Pancreata were harvested after 4 wk of RAP. Immunostaining with fibronectin antibody was used to quantify the extent of pancreatic fibrosis. To assess how apigenin may decrease organ fibrosis, we evaluated the effect of apigenin on the proliferation and apoptosis of human pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) in vitro. Finally, we assessed apigenin's effect on the gene expression in PSCs stimulated with parathyroid hormone-related protein, a profibrotic and proinflammatory mediator of pancreatitis, using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. After 4 wk of RAP, apigenin significantly reduced the fibrotic response to injury while preserving acinar units. Apigenin inhibited viability and induced apoptosis of PSCs in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Finally, apigenin reduced parathyroid hormone-related protein-stimulated increases in the PSC messenger RNA expression levels of extracellular matrix proteins collagen 1A1 and fibronectin, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, transforming growth factor-beta, and interleukin-6. These in vivo and in vitro studies provide novel insights regarding apigenin's mechanism(s) of action in reducing the severity of RAP. Additional preclinical testing of apigenin analogs is warranted to develop a therapeutic agent for patients at risk for CP. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Surgical Research 02/2015; 196:8-16. DOI:10.1016/j.jss.2015.02.032 · 1.94 Impact Factor
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    • "Chronic pancreatitis can be defined as irreversible damage to the pancreas caused by pancreatic inflammation. Complications of CP include severe parenchymal damage with morphologic changes, including calcifications, and functional changes that are complicated by variable and progressive nutrient maldigestion, diabetes mellitus (pancreatogenic; Type 3c [1] [2]), pain syndromes, and increased risk of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) [3] [4]. "

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    • "patient 18, Figure 2) was present in 5.5% (N = 14) of the 253 ICP cases. By way of comparison, combined data from eight studies performed in Europe and the United States indicate that ~3.6% of chronic pancreatitis patients are homozygous for p. N34S [18]; the corresponding proportion from the recent Rosendahl study was 2.6% [19]. In addition, in the Rosendahl study, the frequency of homozygous p. N34S in the <20 years group was higher than in the >20 years group [3.1% (13/421) vs. 1.7% (4/239)], although this difference was not statistically significant owing to the small sample size. "
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    ABSTRACT: Idiopathic chronic pancreatitis (ICP) has traditionally been defined as chronic pancreatitis in the absence of any obvious precipitating factors (e.g. alcohol abuse) and family history of the disease. Studies over the past 15 years have revealed that ICP has a highly complex genetic architecture involving multiple gene loci. Here, we have attempted to provide a conservative assessment of the major genetic causes of ICP in a sample of 253 young French ICP patients. For the first time, conventional types of mutation (comprising coding sequence variants and variants at intron/exon boundaries) and gross genomic rearrangements were screened for in all four major pancreatitis genes, PRSS1, SPINK1, CTRC and CFTR. For the purposes of the study, synonymous, intronic and 5'- or 3'-untranslated region variants were excluded from the analysis except where there was persuasive evidence of functional consequences. The remaining sequence variants/genotypes were classified into causative, contributory or neutral categories by consideration of (i) their allele frequencies in patient and normal control populations, (ii) their presumed or experimentally confirmed functional effects, (iii) the relative importance of their associated genes in the pathogenesis of chronic pancreatitis and (iv) gene-gene interactions wherever applicable. Adoption of this strategy allowed us to assess the pathogenic relevance of specific variants/genotypes to their respective carriers to an unprecedented degree. The genetic cause of ICP could be assigned in 23.7% of individuals in the study group. A strong genetic susceptibility factor was also present in an additional 24.5% of cases. Taken together, up to 48.2% of the studied ICP patients were found to display evidence of a genetic basis for their pancreatitis. Whereas these particular proportions may not be extrapolable to all ICP patients, the approach employed should serve as a useful framework for acquiring a better understanding of the role of genetic factors in causing this oligogenic disease.
    PLoS ONE 08/2013; 8(8):e73522. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0073522 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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