Purpose of review: This report reviews recent animal model and human studies associated with inflammatory responses in acute and chronic pancreatitis.
Recent findings: Animal model and limited human acute and chronic pancreatitis studies unravel the dynamic nature of the inflammatory processes and the ability of the immune cells to sense danger and environmental signals. In acute pancreatitis, such molecules include pathogen-associated molecular pattern recognition receptors such as toll-like receptors, and the more recently appreciated damage-associated molecular pattern molecules or 'alarmin' high mobility group box 1 and IL-33. In chronic pancreatitis, a recent understanding of a critical role for macrophage-pancreatic stellate cell interaction offers a potential targetable pathway that can alter fibrogenesis. Microbiome research in pancreatitis is a new field gaining interest but will require further investigation.
Summary: Immune cell contribution to the pathogenesis of acute and chronic pancreatitis is gaining more appreciation and further understanding in immune signaling presents potential therapeutic targets that can alter disease progression.