Using an experimental model of acute pancreatitis in the rat, we have studied changes in the biophysical properties of lungs and intrapulmonary fibrin deposition in this condition. Acute pancreatitis is associated with a significant decrease in pulmonary compliance (p less than 0.01) and a significant increase in lung weight (p less than 0.01) compared with a control sham operation group. These changes are associated with a 24% increase in intrapulmonary 125I fibrinogen deposition (p less than 0.01), and an 18% increase in 125I fibrinogen deposition per gram of lung tissue (p less than 0.05) in acute pancreatitis, compared with a control sham operation group. The increased fibrinogen deposition is abolished by treatment with low dose heparin. Using the same animal model changes in pulmonary ultrastructure are shown using scanning electron microscopy. The results indicate that pulmonary abnormalities are associated with intrapulmonary fibrin deposition in experimental acute pancreatitis and these findings may be relevant to the well described respiratory complications of the condition in man.
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