To establish a new experimental model of chronic pancreatitis (CP) with diabetes, we investigated pancreatic endocrine function, blood flow, and histopathology in CP induced by repetition of cerulein injection plus water immersion stress in rats. CP rats were treated with water immersion stress for 5 hr and two intraperitoneal injections of 20 micrograms/kg body weight of cerulein once a week for 16 weeks. In the CP group, pancreatic contents of protein, amylase, elastase, and lipase significantly decreased to 64, 38, 23, and 68% of the control group, respectively. In oral glucose tolerance test (glucose 2 g/kg body wt), blood glucose level in the CP group was 212.1 +/- 97.8 mg/dl (mean +/- SD) at 30 min and was significantly higher than the control group (126.3 +/- 15.4 mg/dl)(P < 0.05). Two of seven rats in the CP group showed an obvious diabetic insulin in the CP group was 640.1 +/- 148.7 pM, significantly lower than in the control group (1133.4 +/- 242.0 pM)(P < 0.001). However, insulin content in the pancreas was 12.37 nmol/pancreas). In CP rats, winding and dilatation of surface blood vessels and gland atrophy were evident. Marked fibrosis, fatty changes, and destruction of lobular architecture were also demonstrated microscopically, although the structure of each pancreatic islet was preserved and each islet was fully stained with anti-insulin antibody. In the CP group, pancreatic blood flow by the hydrogen gas-clearance method was 197.6 +/- 33.0 ml/min/100 g, which was significantly less than the control group (276.2 +/- 19.1 ml/min/100 g) (P < 0.001). Thus, we conclude that the CP model induced by cerulein plus stress is a new CP model with diabetes in rats, in which the glucose tolerance was impaired without loss of insulin reserve.