Acute pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease of the pancreas which, in its most severe form, is associated with multi-organ failure and death. Recently, signalling molecules and pathways which are responsible for the initiation and progression of this disease have been under intense scrutiny. One important signalling molecule, nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), has been shown to play a critical role in the development of acute pancreatitis. NF-κB is a nuclear transcription factor responsible for regulating the transcription of a wide variety of genes involved in immunity and inflammation. Many of these genes have been implicated as central players in the development and progression of acute pancreatitis. This review discusses recent advances in the investigation of pancreatic and extrapancreatic (lungs, liver, monocytes and macrophages, and endothelial cells) NF-κB activation as it relates to acute pancreatitis.