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Murine Model of Alcohol-Dependent Chronic Pancreatitis

Many patients with chronic pancreatitis are alcoholics. In order to learn more about the effect of alcohol on the pancreas, the researchers in the Boston Pancreas Group developed a murine model of alcohol-dependent chronic pancreatitis. Mice were fed either a non-alcohol containing Lieber-DeCarli (LDC) diet or the LDC diet containing 24% of calories as ethanol. After 8 weeks and while on their respective diets, mice were subjected to repeated episodes of acute pancreatitis elicited by administration of caerulein.

Pancreatic morphology and collagen deposition were evaluated in samples stained with H&E and sirius red. Collagen content was quantitated by measuring OH-proline. Gene expression was determined by quanitative PCR.

We found that mice fed the ethanol containing diet and experienced the repeated episodes of pancreatitis had significantly higher levels of collagen and Sirius red stain, and higher expression of pro-fibrotic genes including a1 collagen type I, a-smooth muscle actin, transforming growth factor-ß1 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 compared to mice that did not receive the ethanol containing diet. Mice that did not experience any episodes of pancreatitis appeared normal regardless of their diet.