The mechanism of conversion of xanthine dehydrogenase to xanthine oxidase in acute pancreatitis in the canine isolated pancreas preparation

Isto H. Nordback, John L. Cameron

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Four models of acute pancreatitis have been previously developed that use the ex vivo perfused isolated canine pancreas preparation. The four models include the intraarterial infusion of oleic acid (FFA) that mimics hyperlipemic pancreatitis, partial obstruction of the pancreatic duct with secretin stimulation (POSS) that mimics gallstone pancreatitis, a 2-hour period of ischemia before perfusion (ISCH 2) that mimics shock pancreatitis, and the infusion of cerulein at supramaximal stimulatory doses (CER), which lacks an obvious clinical counterpart. In the FFA, POSS, and ISCH 2 pancreatitis, but not in the CER pancreatitis, toxic oxygen metabolites, generated by the enzyme xanthine oxidase (XO), have been shown to be important mediators in the early pathogenesis. Ordinarily XO primarily occurs as xanthine dehydrogenase (XD) but can be converted to XO, which is the form that generates toxic oxygen metabolites. This conversion of XD to XO may take place either reversibly by way of sulfhydryl group oxidation or irreversibly by means of proteolytic cleavage of XD. This study was undertaken to investigate the mechanism of conversion of XD to XO in the FFA-, POSS-, and ISCH 2-induced pancreatitis models. CER pancreatitis was studied for comparison. After 4 hours of perfusion, pancreatitis was manifest by edema, weight gain, and hyperamylasemia in all four models. Dithiothreitol, a sulfhydryl group protector, ameliorated the weight gain in the FFA (40 ± 14 gm to 18 ± 13 gm; p < 0.05), POSS (28 ± 10 gm to 9 ± 3 gm; p < 0.05), and ISCH 2 pancreatitis (30 ± 13 gm to 15 ± 3 gm; p < 0.05), and ameliorated the hyperamylasemia in the POSS pancreatitis (12,062 ± 4304 units/dl to 5877 ± 2659 units/dl; p < 0.05). The CER pancreatitis was not ameliorated with dithiothreitol. A serine protease inhibitor of low molecular weight, phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride, ameliorated only the CER pancreatitis (weight gain from 28 ± 10 gm to 17 ± 10 gm, p < 0.05; amylase activity from 38,116 ± 6491 units/dl to 23,372 ± 11,654 units/dl, p < 0.05), and not the FFA, POSS, or ISCH 2 pancreatitis. We conclude that in the three models of pancreatitis (FFA, POSS, and ISCH 2) that are mediated by toxic oxygen metabolites, XD is converted to XO reversibly by way of sulfhydryl group oxidation rather than irreversibly by way of proteolysis. In the CER pancreatitis, where XO does not play a role in the pathogenesis, proteolytic enzymes may be important mediators in the injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-97
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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