Differential roles of inflammatory cells in pancreatitis

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The incidence of acute pancreatitis per 100 000 of population ranges from 5 to 80. Patients suffering from hemorrhagic-necrotizing pancreatitis die in 10–24% of cases. 80% of all cases of acute pancreatitis are etiologically linked to gallstone disease immoderate alcohol consumption. As of today no specific causal treatment for acute pancreatitis exists. Elevated C-reactive protein levels above 130 mg/L can also predict a severe course of acute pancreatitis. The essential medical treatment for acute pancreatitis is the correction of hypovolemia. Prophylactic antibiotics should be restricted to patients with necrotizing pancreatitis, infected necrosis or other infectious complications. However, as premature intracellular protease activation is known to be the primary event in acute pancreatitis. Severe acute pancreatitis is characterized by an early inflammatory immune response syndrome (SIRS) and a subsequent compensatory anti-inflammatory response syndrome (CARS) contributing to severity as much as protease activation does. CARS suppresses the immune system and facilitates nosocomial infections including infected pancreatic necrosis, one of the most feared complications of the disease. A number of attempts have been made to suppress the early systemic inflammatory response but even if these mechanisms have been found to be beneficial in animal models they failed in daily clinical practice.

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