Role of zinc in the process of pancreatic fibrosis in chronic alcoholic pancreatitis

Pancreas. 1994 Mar;9(2):270-4. doi: 10.1097/00006676-199403000-00020.


Zinc acts as a cofactor in many enzymatic processes, including collagen synthesis. The observation of increased activity of prolylhydroxylase (PHase), an enzyme that takes part in the synthesis of collagen, in zinc-depleted liver tissue suggests that zinc deficiency is associated with hepatic collagen deposition. The pancreatic zinc content in chronic alcoholic pancreatitis (CAP) is still unknown. The objectives of this study were (a) To assess zinc concentrations in the pancreatic tissue in CAP; (b) to establish a possible relation between pancreatic zinc content, fibrosis, and PHase activity; and (c) to evaluate the relation between serum and pancreatic zinc levels. Sixteen surgical specimens of pancreatic tissue from patients with CAP were analyzed; control pancreatic samples from 11 organ donors were also studied. Zinc concentration, PHase activity, and the amount of fibrous tissue were assessed in the pancreatic tissue of each individual. The amount of fiber deposited in the pancreas in CAP was 68.4 +/- 19.8%, and that of the control group, 5 +/- 2% (p < 0.001). PHase activity in CAP was 754 +/- 230 cpm/mg of protein and that of the control group was 405 +/- 151 cpm/mg of protein (p < 0.001). The amount of pancreatic zinc in the former was 15.0 +/- 9.7 micrograms/g of tissue and that of the latter was 28.1 +/- 18.1 micrograms/g of tissue (p = 0.023). Serum zinc levels were similar in both groups.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreatitis / blood
  • Pancreatitis / etiology
  • Pancreatitis / pathology*
  • Zinc / blood
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Zinc