A New Animal Model of Reversible Acute Pancreatitis

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Numerous animal models of acute pancreatitis are utilized to assess pathophysiologic events and to evaluate therapeutic options. However, none of the small animal models simulates reversible biliary pancreatitis with long.term follow-up (weeks). The present study was designed to create a reversible model of acute biliary pancreatitis in small experimental animals. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to laparotomy, and the common bile duct was dissected free at its junction to the duodenum. Experimental animals had a polypropylene tie occluder passed around the common bile duct and brought out through a separate stab wound in the abdominal wall. The duct was occluded for 24 hr;, the blockage was then relieved and the tie withdrawn from the animal. Sham-operative animals had similar surgical procedures but without the occluder. Serum amylase values on Days 1 and 2 following surgery were significantly increased in the experimental group, but were not different from those of control animals on Day 3 or 4, suggesting reversibility of this biliary pancreatitis model. Likewise, serum bilirubin levels were increased in the experimental group on Days 1 and 2. Histologic analysis revealed edema, zymogen degranulation, inflammatory infiltration, vacuolization of acinar cells, and focal areas of fat and parenchymal necrosis in the experimental group. Only mild edema was observed in the sham- operative controls due to surgical manipulation. Pancreatic tissues obtained at 1 week postinduction of pancreatitis showed near total destruction of the architecture and dissolution of zymogen granules; in contrast, histology at the 3rd week showed almost normal-appearing pancreas with return of zymogen granules, suggesting recovery from the acute pancreatitis. This reproducible and reversible model of acute pancreatitis in the rat will provide for further studies in the pathogenesis of pancreatitis and its therapeutic interventions.