An Exploratory Study on the Development of an Animal Model of Acute Pancreatitis Following Nicotine Exposure
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Department of Physiology & Biophysics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Publication date: 2003-09-15
Corresponding author
P Chowdhury   

Department of Physiology & Biophysics, Slot #505, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301West Markham Street, Little Rock, AR 72205
Tobacco Induced Diseases 2003;1(September):213
Cigarette smoking is known to be a major risk factor for pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis is believed to be a predisposed condition for pancreatic cancer. As of this date, there is no established experimental animal model to conduct detailed studies on these two deadly diseases. Our aim is to establish a rodent model by which we can systematically study the pathogenesis of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

Adult Male Sprague Dawley rats were exposed to graded doses of nicotine by various routes for periods of three to 16 weeks. Blood samples were measured for hormonal and metabolic parameters. The pancreas was evaluated for histopathological changes and its function was assessed in isolated pancreatic acini upon stimulation with cholecystokinin (CCK) or carbachol (Cch). The pancreatic tissue was evaluated further for oncogene expression.

Body weight, food and fluid intakes, plasma glucose and insulin levels were significantly reduced in animals with nicotine exposure when compared to control. However, CCK and gastrin levels in the blood were significantly elevated. Pancreatic function was decreased significantly with no alteration in CCK receptor binding. Pancreatic histology revealed vacuolation, swelling, cellular pyknosis and karyorrhexis. Mutant oncogene, H-ras, was overexpressed in nicotinetreated pancreatic tissue

Summary and conclusion:
The results suggest that alterations in metabolic, hormonal and pathologic parameters following nicotine-treatment appear consistent with diagnostic criteria of human pancreatitis. It is proposed that rats could be considered as a potential animal model to study the pathogenesis of pancreatitis.

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