Antibacterial activity of the pancreatic fluid

Gastroenterology. 1985 Apr;88(4):927-32. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5085(85)80009-3.


The antibacterial activity of canine pancreatic fluid was investigated in an attempt to understand the resistance of this organ, when intact, to ascending bacterial infections. The pancreatic fluid demonstrated bactericidal activity against Escherichia coli, Shigella species, Salmonella species, and Klebsiella pneumoniae; bacteriostatic activity against coagulase-positive and coagulase-negative staphylococci and Pseudomonas aeruginosa; and fungistatic activity against Candida albicans. There was no demonstrable antibacterial activity against Bacteroides fragilis and Streptococcus faecalis. The antibacterial activity was dialyzable and pH dependent, but independent of heat, the activity of several digestive pancreatic enzymes, and the bacterial inoculum. Electron micrographs of Escherichia coli exposed to pancreatic fluid did not demonstrate changes in the bacterial cell wall. Tracer studies of susceptible bacteria demonstrated decreased leucine uptake when briefly exposed to pancreatic fluid. The antibacterial activity was found by column chromatography to be a small molecular peptide. It is likely that pancreatic antibacterial factors protect the pancreas from ascending bacterial infections and operate along with other factors in the homeostasis of the upper small bowel flora.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Dogs
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Gastric Acid / metabolism
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / growth & development
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Pancreas / microbiology*
  • Pancreatic Juice / physiology*
  • Salmonella / growth & development
  • Shigella / growth & development
  • Staphylococcus / growth & development