Cigarette smoke-induced pancreatic damage: experimental data

Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2008 Jul;393(4):581-8. doi: 10.1007/s00423-007-0273-3. Epub 2008 Jan 12.


Background and aims: Epidemiological data clearly indicate that cigarette smoking is associated with an increased risk for developing chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Despite of this clear epidemiological correlation, cigarette smoke-induced pancreatic damage has only been investigated in a small number of experimental studies.

Methods: Experimental studies examining the effect of cigarette smoke or cigarette smoke constituents on the pancreas were reviewed.

Results: Recent data indicate that smoking also induces chronic pancreatic inflammation in rodents within a period of 12 weeks upon exposure with environmental cigarette smoke. Supported by the finding that morphologic pancreatic damage is also induced by nicotine treatment, cigarette smoke-induced pancreatic damage is likely to be caused by a disturbance of regulation of exocrine pancreas. The morphological alterations, however, induced by nicotine, are less pronounced and therefore, other substances and pathophysiologic mechanisms, such as carcinogen action or cigarette smoke-induced reduction of anti-protease activity, are likely to aggravate pancreatic damage upon cigarette smoke inhalation.

Conclusion: These data indicate that several constituents of cigarette smoke induce a disturbance of pancreatic function. This multifactorial event induces morphologic pancreatic damage upon cigarette smoke exposure in rodents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogens* / metabolism
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic / etiology*
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic / pathology
  • Rats
  • Smoking / adverse effects*


  • Carcinogens