Scientists identify possible drug target for acute pancreatitis

Scientists from the Universities of Illinois and California have found that the inflammatory protein interleukin-6 (IL-6) plays a pivotal role in the duration of acute pancreatitis in animal models with this condition. Their report, in the June 2012 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, describes experiments in lean and obese mice that identify the presence of high IL-6 as one of the reasons why the disease is more devastating in obese people.

"The study helps to understand why acute pancreatitis is more prolonged in obese subjects," said Giamila Fantuzzi, Ph.D., the senior researcher of this work, from the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "Our data indicate that IL-6 participates in prolonging inflammation in obese mice with acute pancreatitis, but also show that this is not the most important factor in determining the severity of the acute response."

To make this discovery, researchers used lean and obese mice that do and do not produce IL-6. They induced in all mice and studied them at different times of the disease. Both groups of the lean mice developed mild disease and then promptly recovered. Both sets of obese mice developed more severe disease at its onset. For the obese mice that did not produce IL-6, the course of the disease was much shorter than in the that did produce IL-6. It is also important to note that obesity leads to elevated levels of IL-6 and other inflammatory proteins.

"There is an increasing awareness that obesity and inflammation are connected," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the . "Not only does this new report demonstrate an important set of interactions between obesity, pancreatitis, and inflammation, but it also identifies the inflammatory pathway, IL-6, which could represent an important new in these settings."


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More information: Maria Pini, Davina H. Rhodes, Karla J. Castellanos, Andrew R. Hall, Robert J. Cabay, Rohini Chennuri, Eileen F. Grady, and Giamila Fantuzzi. Role of IL-6 in the resolution of pancreatitis in obese mice. J. Leukoc Biol. June 2012 91:957-966; doi:10.1189/jlb.1211627
Journal information: Journal of Leukocyte Biology

Citation: Scientists identify possible drug target for acute pancreatitis (2012, May 31) retrieved 18 June 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-05-scientists-drug-acute-pancreatitis.html
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