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In the May 2011 issue of Gut, Habtezion and colleagues report that panhaematin treatment ameliorates experimental acute pancreatitis (AP) by reducing neutrophil infiltration, and they propose that the drug may resolve the therapeutic impasse in clinical AP.1 I see the study results as further evidence of mast cell pathology. The limited number of citations permitted in ‘letters’ precludes a full bibliography, which can be provided on request.
Haem preparations induce haem oxygenase-1 (HO-1), which then degrades haem to generate bilirubin (via biliverdin) and carbon monoxide: the enzyme—which is transported in blood plasma from liver, spleen and other sites—and both end-products are antioxidants/anti-inflammatory agents. HO-1 is up-regulated by a …