Animal models of acute and chronic pancreatitis have been created to examine mechanisms of pathogenesis, test therapeutic interventions, and study the influence of inflammation on the development of pancreatic cancer. In vitro models can be used to study early stage, short-term processes that involve acinar cell responses. Rodent models reproducibly develop mild or severe disease. One of the most commonly used pancreatitis models is created by administration of supraphysiologic concentrations of caerulein, an ortholog of cholecystokinin. Induction of chronic pancreatitis with factors thought to have a role in human disease, such as combinations of lipopolysaccharide and chronic ethanol feeding, might be relevant to human disease. Models of autoimmune chronic pancreatitis have also been developed. Most models, particularly of chronic pancreatitis, require further characterization to determine which features of human disease they include.
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