Background: Lipolytic enzymes, such as lipase, phospholipase A(2), lipoprotein lipase, and hormone-sensitive adipocyte lipase are probably implicated in the pathogenesis of acute pancreatitis. The increased activity of these enzymes can cause specific changes in fatty acid composition, both to free fatty acid (FFA) and triglyceride (TG) fractions in necrotically changed pancreatic tissue.
Material and methods: Specimens of necrotically changed pancreatic tissue taken intraoperatively from 13 patients operated for serious necrotic acute pancreatitis were analysed. The Fölsch extraction method and separation of lipids by thin-layer chromatography was used, and the final fatty acid composition was determined after methylation by gas liquid chromatography.
Results: The changes in the FFA fraction are more definite than those for the triglyceride fraction and refer mostly to the increased percentage distribution of unsaturated fatty acids.
Conclusions: These studies lead to the hypothesis that fatty acids released in the process of lipolysis play a key role in the pathogenesis of acute pancreatitis.