Acute pancreatitis is characterized by hyperamylasemia, pancreatic edema, and the presence of activated digestive enzymes within the pancreas. The secretagogue-induced model of acute pancreatitis is also characterized by pancreatic acinar cell vacuolation, subcellular redistribution of lysosomal hydrolases, and a fall in pancreatic glutathione levels. We have performed time-dependence studies to determine the sequence with which these phenomena appear and to establish their cause-and-effect relationship. Evidence of lysosomal enzyme redistribution and trypsinogen activation within the pancreas could be detected within 10-15 min of the onset of supramaximal secretagogue stimulation, while hyperamylasemia (30 min), pancreatic edema (60 min), and acinar cell vacuolation (60 min) occurred at later times. Pancreatic glutathione levels were either unchanged (15 and 30 min) or elevated (60 min) during the early times of supramaximal stimulation and were only noted to be decreased at a later time. These results support the conclusion that intrapancreatic digestive enzyme activation, possibly occurring by a mechanism involving lysosomal hydrolase redistribution, is an early and likely a critical event in the evolution of secretagogue-induced pancreatitis but that glutathione depletion is neither early nor critical to the evolution of this model of pancreatitis.
- Cathepsin b
- Lysosomal hydrolases