Early Gut Mucosal Dysfunction in Patients With Acute Pancreatitis

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A clinical study was made to test the hypothesis that gut mucosal damage happens and correlates with endotoxemia, systemic inflammation, severity of disease, septic complication, and outcome in acute pancreatitis (AP) patients.


Patients were divided into 3 groups according to severity: grade 1 (n = 26, mild), grade 2 (n = 18, severe AP [SAP] without organ dysfunction), and grade 3 (n = 18, SAP with organ dysfunction). Twenty healthy volunteers were enrolled as control group. The intestinal lactulose and mannitol absorption ratio, d-xylose absorption, endotoxin, and tumor necrosis factor α were detected in parallel to clinical data collection.


Lactulose and mannitol absorption ratio increased in patients with AP, and the increase was more pronounced in SAP (grade 1: 0.044 ± 0.017, grade 2: 0.39 ± 0.16, grade 3: 0.48 ± 0.22, control: 0.024 ± 0.009; P < 0.01 between control and AP, P < 0.01 between mild and severe group). d-Xylose absorption decreased in pancreatitis groups (P < 0.01) especially in severe groups (P < 0.01 between mild and SAP). We also observed a significant positive correlation of mucosal permeability with endotoxin (r = 0.902, P < 0.001) and tumor necrosis factor α changes (r = 0.862, P < 0.001). The severity and septic complication in AP patients were different accompanied with severity of gut mucosal damage.


Intestinal mucosal function is injured in early phase of AP especially in patients with organ dysfunction, which may be a stimulus for development of multiple organ dysfunction and correlate with bad outcome in AP patients.

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