Conclusion: Although high-dose aprotinin given intraperitoneally to patients with severe acute pancreatitis seems to inhibit activated trypsin in the peritoneal cavity, the treatment has little effect on the balance between proteases and antiproteases. Plasma levels of leukocyte proteases were high in all the patients, indicating leukocyte activation to be an important feature of the pathophysiology of severe acute pancreatitis. A surprise finding was that the patients had higher peritoneal levels of pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor (PSTI) after the lavage procedure.
Background: Although most studies have shown protease inhibitor therapy to have little or no effect on acute pancreatitis, in an earlier study we found that very high doses of the protease inhibitor aprotinin given intraperitoneally to patients with severe acute pancreatitis seemed to reduce the need of surgical treatment for pancreatic necrosis. In the present study we have further analyzed plasma and peritoneal samples from the same patients to ascertain whether the aprotinin treatment affects the balance between proteases and endogenous antiproteases.
Methods: In a prospective double-blind randomized multicenter trial, 48 patients with severe acute pancreatitis were treated with intraperitoneal lavage. One group (aprotinin group, n = 22) was also treated with high doses (20 million KIU given over 30 h) of aprotinin intraperitoneally. The remaining 26 patients made up the control group. The protease-antiprotease balance was studied by measuring immunoreactive anionic trypsin (irAT), cationic trypsin (irCT), complexes between cationic trypsin and alpha 1-protease inhibitor (irCT-alpha 1 PI), leukocyte elastase and neutrophil proteinase 4 (NP4), as well as the endogenous protease inhibitors, pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor (PSTI), alpha 2-macroglobulin (alpha 2M), alpha 1-protease inhibitor (alpha 1 PI), antichymotrypsin (ACHY), and secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI). Intraperitoneal levels were studied before and after the lavage procedure, and plasma levels were followed for 21 d.
Results: The control group had lower plasma levels of SLPI and analysis of peritoneal fluid showed the reduction of irCT-alpha 1 PI to be more pronounced in the aprotinin group. None of the other variables measured differed significantly between the two groups. All patients had very high levels of leukocyte elastase and NP4 both in peritoneal exudate and in plasma. Peritoneal levels of PSTI were higher after the lavage procedure in contrast to the other measured variables that all showed lower peritoneal levels after the lavage.