Ethanol diet increases the sensitivity of rats to pancreatitis induced by cholecystokinin octapeptide

Gastroenterology. 1999 Sep;117(3):706-16. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5085(99)70465-8.


Background & aims: Although alcoholism is a major cause of pancreatitis, the pathogenesis of this disorder remains obscure. Failure to produce experimental alcoholic pancreatitis suggests that ethanol may only increase predisposition to pancreatitis. This study sought to develop a model of ethanol pancreatitis by determining if an ethanol diet sensitizes rats to pancreatitis caused by cholecystokinin octapeptide (CCK-8).

Methods: Rats were fed intragastrically either control or ethanol diet for 2 or 6 weeks. The animals were then infused for 6 hours with either saline or CCK-8 at a dose of 3000 pmol. kg(-1). h(-1), which by itself did not induce pancreatitis. The following parameters were measured: serum amylase and lipase levels, pancreatic weight, inflammatory infiltration, number of apoptotic acinar cells, pancreatic messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of cytokines and chemokines, and nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB activity.

Results: All measures of pancreatitis, as well as NF-kappaB activity and mRNA expression for tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 6, monocyte chemotactic protein 1, macrophage inflammatory protein 2, and inducible nitric oxide synthase, were significantly increased only in rats treated with ethanol plus CCK-8.

Conclusions: An ethanol diet sensitizes rats to pancreatitis caused by CCK-8. The combined action of ethanol and CCK-8 results in NF-kappaB activation and up-regulation of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines in the pancreas. These mechanisms may contribute to the development of alcoholic pancreatitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amylases / blood
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Chemokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage
  • Ethanol / pharmacology
  • Lipase / blood
  • Male
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / analysis
  • Pancreas / drug effects
  • Pancreatitis, Alcoholic* / blood
  • Pancreatitis, Alcoholic* / metabolism
  • Pancreatitis, Alcoholic* / pathology
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sincalide / administration & dosage
  • Sincalide / blood
  • Sincalide / pharmacology


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • NF-kappa B
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ethanol
  • Lipase
  • Amylases
  • Sincalide