Acute pancreatitis remains a disease of uncertain pathogenesis and nonspecific therapy. Because of the practical problems plaguing investigation of pancreatitis in man, investigators have developed various experimental animal models of pancreatitis in order to develop rationale concepts regarding pathogenesis and therapy. Despite numerous investigations over the past century, the events involved in the initiation and progression of pancreatitis remain obscure. Indeed, identification of the cellular mechanisms responsible for the initiation of this disease may allow for significant advances in therapy. Previous studies have largely focused on the mechanism of pancreatitis at the organ level. It is now apparent that the early initiating events in acute pancreatitis probably occur at a membrane or intracellular level. The resolution of the cellular events which underlie the development of pancreatitis in combination with the introduction of new therapeutic agents may enable a rational and safe protocol to be developed for the support of patients with pancreatitis. In this review different experimental models of acute pancreatitis are discussed. Emphasis is placed on the relevance of various models to clinical pancreatitis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas