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Microvascular thrombosis occurs in severe acute pancreatitis (AP). Exploiting this knowledge, we used human recombinant activated protein C (Xigris; Eli Lilly, Indianapolis, Ind) known to preserve microvascular patency, in evaluating the role of Xigris in experimental AP.In accordance with European union experimentation regulations, AP was induced by hourly injection of cerulein 50 μg/kg body weight over 6 hours. Male rats of median weight of 231 g (range, 176-312 g) were allocated at random into groups: group 1, control; group 2, vehicle; group 3, AP; group 4, cerulein + Xigris at induction of AP and killing at 24 h; and group 5, cerulein + Xigris 24 hours after induction and killing at 48 hours. In addition to enzymatic and histological markers of pancreatic injury, apoptosis, nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) p65/IκB, cytokine response, and endothelial injury were assessed. Western blot quantified by densitometry was used to assess marker of apoptosis and endothelial injury.Cerulein injection resulted in acute necrotizing pancreatitis. Intervention with recombinant human activated protein C did not modify coagulation parameters or lead to hemorrhage but ameliorated pancreatic injury with preservation of IκB and reduction of NF-κB p65 and modulation of apoptosis.Our study indicates that recombinant human activated protein C ameliorates experimental cerulein-induced pancreatitis through apoptotic and NF-κB pathways without causing pancreatic hemorrhage.