1. We have assessed the role of platelet-activating factor in caerulein-induced acute pancreatitis (four subcutaneous injections of caerulein at a dose of 20 μg/kg) by measuring platelet-activating factor levels in portal blood, pancreatic tissue and peritoneal exudate in rats with and without pancreatitis.

2. We have also observed the effect of the platelet-activating factor antagonist, BN-52021, on the hyper-amylasaemia and exocrine pancreatic secretion impairment associated with pancreatitis.

3. In rats with pancreatitis the basal pancreatic flow rate was increased (1.63 ± 0.41 versus 0.25 ± 0.03 μl/min). Total protein output was similar in both untreated (5.98 ± 1.93 μg/min) and caerulein-injected (6.5 ± 2.0 μg/min) animals. Amylase output was lower in rats with pancreatitis (19.6 ± 4.8 μ-units/min) than in controls (39.4 ± 16.6 μ-units/min).

4. Caerulein-treated animals had significantly higher serum amylase levels than untreated animals. BN-52021 significantly reduced the caerulein-induced hyperamylasaemia.

5. Portal blood platelet-activating factor levels increased in rats with pancreatitis and in rats infused with cholecystokinin. Rats injected with caerulein and BN-52021 had portal blood levels of platelet-activating factor that were lower than those with pancreatitis.

6. Morphological derangements associated with pancreatitis (inflammatory infiltration and cell vacuolization) were also markedly reduced in BN-52021-treated animals.

7. The results of this study suggest that platelet-activating factor is involved in the development of caerulein-induced acute pancreatitis in rats.

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