Previous work has shown that cyclosporin A is toxic to the endocrine and exocrine pancreas. The aim of this study was to examine whether endogenous eicosanoids play a role in controlling cyclosporin A induced toxicity. Rats were treated for eight days with indomethacin (2 mg/kg, twice daily) in addition to cyclosporin A (5 or 10 mg/kg daily). Effects of drug treatments on exocrine (as assessed by amylase and protein secretion into the pancreatic juice) and endocrine (as assessed by the glucose dependent insulin release) pancreatic functions, and pancreatic formation of prostaglandins and thromboxane were evaluated. Treatment with cyclosporin A in the doses used did not inhibit eicosanoid formation by the pancreatic tissue ex vivo. Indomethacin caused significant inhibition of pancreatic formation of prostaglandin E2, 6k prostaglandin F1 alpha and thromboxane B2. Combined treatment with indomethacin and cyclosporin A (5 or 10 mg/kg) augmented cyclosporin A induced pancreatic toxicity with further impairment of insulin release, amylase secretion, and pancreatic juice protein content, but did not result in more pronounced inhibition of pancreatic eicosanoid formation. The increased toxicity of the combined treatment was, however, associated with raised cyclosporin A whole blood concentrations. The data suggest that the potentiation of pancreatic toxicity of cyclosporin A observed during coadministration of indomethacin is not the result of suppression of endogenous pancreatic eicosanoid biosynthesis, but more likely results from altered cyclosporin A pharmacokinetic which may be caused by an interference of indomethacin with the hepatic cytochrome P-450 dependent monooxygenase involved in cyclosporin A metabolism. The possibility that coadministration of non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs aggravates toxic effects in cyclosporin A treated patients should be considered.
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