BACKGROUND--Bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) has been proposed to participate in the pathogenesis of pancreatic inflammatory disease. AIMS--This study investigated the role of endotoxaemia in the pathogenesis of pancreatic acinar cell injury. METHODS--Sixty eight male Spraque-Dawley rats were used in the study. Escherichia coli LPS (5 mg/kg) was injected into the peritoneal cavity of the rats. The concentration of pancreatic phospholipase A2 (PLA2) in plasma was measured and pancreatic tissue examined by histology, in situ detection of free DNA 3'-ends, and electrophoretic DNA analysis. RESULTS--The concentration of pancreatic PLA2 increased in plasma and the catalytic activity of PLA2 increased in pancreatic tissue after an LPS injection. Apoptosis in pancreatic acinar cells and fragmentation of DNA typical of apoptosis in pancreatic tissue was seen 24 hours after an LPS injection. Pancreatic acinar atrophy was seen 72 hours after the LPS injection. CONCLUSIONS--These data show that LPS causes release of pancreatic PLA2 into blood plasma, activation of PLA2 in pancreatic tissue, and apoptosis of acinar cells.
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