Different profiles of cytokine expression during mild and severe acute pancreatitis

World J Gastroenterol. 2010 Apr 21;16(15):1845-53. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i15.1845.


Aim: To study secretion patterns of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and activation of various cellular subsets of leukocytes in peripheral blood.

Methods: We have conducted a prospective observational study. One hundred and eight patients with a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis and onset of the disease within last 72 h were included in this study. The mRNA expression of 25 different types of cytokines in white blood cells was determined by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction. Levels of 8 different cytokines in blood serum were measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Clinical data and cytokine expression results were subjected to statistical analysis.

Results: Severe and necrotizing acute pancreatitis (AP) is characterized by the significant depletion of circulating lymphocytes. Severe acute pancreatitis is associated with a typical systemic inflammatory response syndrome and over-expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF)]. Serum IL-6 and MIF concentrations are the best discriminators of severe and necrotizing AP as well as possible fatal outcome during the early course of the disease.

Conclusion: Deregulation of cellular immune system is a key event leading to severe and necrotizing AP. IL-6 and MIF could be used as early predictors of complications.

Keywords: Acute pancreatitis; Cytokines; Prognostic factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Pancreatitis / metabolism*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8
  • RNA, Messenger