Objectives: This article aims to determine the effect of acute pancreatitis on microvascular morphology and the impact of treatment with hyperbaric oxygen (HBO).
Methods: Sixty-seven male Wistar rats were induced with acute pancreatitis by retrograde bile duct injection. Rats were randomized to 12-hourly HBO or control treatment. Two rats in each group were killed at baseline and 24, 48, and 72 hours postinduction, and a cast of the pancreatic microvasculature was examined using scanning electron microscopy.
Results: Normal pancreatic vasculature is a dense network with a consistent capillary diameter. In acute pancreatitis, mean capillary diameter is increased at 24 hours (P < 0.001) and further increased at 48 hours (P = 0.007). From 24 hours, diameter heterogeneity is increased (P < 0.001) and capillary density is reduced (P < 0.001). Hyperbaric oxygen has a significant effect on vascular morphology changes from 48 hours after induction. Capillary diameter and heterogeneity of diameter are decreased by HBO (both P < 0.001). Capillary density is increased by HBO at 48 and 72 hours (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: In acute pancreatitis, structural capillary diameter and heterogeneity of diameter increase and capillary density decreases. These parameters are all improved by HBO treatment. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment normalizes the pancreatic microvasculature after acute pancreatitis and may be a potentially effective treatment of this disease.