Effects of stress on the development of chronic pancreatitis

Pancreas. 1992;7(5):548-55. doi: 10.1097/00006676-199209000-00007.


In this study, the effects of chronic water immersion stress on the pancreas were investigated in four groups of rats (each group, n = 9): stress + cerulein group, stress group, cerulein group, and control group. Stress + cerulein rats were treated with water immersion stress for 5 h and two intraperitoneal injections of 20 micrograms/kg body wt of cerulein once a week for 16 weeks. In the macroscopic findings of the pancreas, all rats in the stress+cerulein group exhibited moderate or distinctive congestion of blood vessels, gland atrophy, and fatty changes, while some of them showed bleeding. Microscopically, they all exhibited moderate or severe fibrosis, inflammatory cell infiltration, fatty changes, destruction of lobular architecture, and hemosiderin deposits, while some of them also showed bleeding. The stress group without treatment with cerulein injections showed slight fibrosis, hemosiderin deposits, and bleeding. The cerulein group without stress treatment showed fatty changes, but no inflammatory cell infiltration or fibrosis. In the stress + cerulein group only, the contents of digestive enzymes and protein in the pancreas were approximately 55% lower than those of the control group, whereas those in other groups did not show significant reduction. These findings suggest that stress plays some role in the development of chronic pancreatitis, perhaps by causing circulatory disturbance and blood vessel injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amylases / blood
  • Amylases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight
  • Ceruletide
  • Immersion
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Pancreas / drug effects
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreatic Elastase / metabolism
  • Pancreatitis / etiology*
  • Pancreatitis / metabolism
  • Pancreatitis / pathology
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Stress, Physiological / complications*
  • Trypsin / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • Proteins
  • Ceruletide
  • Amylases
  • Pancreatic Elastase
  • Trypsin