1. The present study was designed to determine the changes in renal function in two models of experimental pancreatitis in rats, in an attempt to assess the possible pathogenic role of reactive oxygen species and to elucidate a possible therapeutic role for somatostatin.

2. Mild pancreatitis was induced by low blockade of the biliary duct and severe pancreatitis was evoked by retrograde infusion of bile salts. Renal function was studied by clearance techniques in rats with pancreatitis, treated or not treated with somatostatin. Plasma and glomerular malonyldialdehyde levels were measured by the thiobarbituric acid method.

3. Renal function did not change in rats with low blockade of the biliary duct, but animals receiving a retrograde infusion of bile salts showed a significant decrease in glomerular filtration rate and renal plasma flow with respect to sham-operated animals.

4. Plasma malonyldialdehyde levels increased significantly in rats treated with bile salts with respect to control animals, whereas no changes were detected in glomerular malonyldialdehyde levels. Thus, the renal dysfunction does not seem to be related to an increased production of reactive oxygen metabolites at the glomerular level.

5. Somatostatin infusion significantly improved renal function in rats with severe pancreatitis (retrograde infusion of bile salts) by increasing glomerular filtration rate, renal plasma flow and filtration fraction. These results support a possible therapeutic role for somatostatin in the renal dysfunction associated with the severe forms of pancreatitis.

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