Periacinar collagenization in patients with chronic alcoholism

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Abstract

To examine the development of pancreatic fibrosis in alcoholics, the fibrosis types grouped according to Martin's classification were examined by immunohistochemistry using an antibody against α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). The initial stage of periacinar collagenization was also investigated by electron microscopy. The total incidence of pancreatic fibrosis at autopsy of the 29 alcoholics was significantly higher than that of the 40 non-alcoholics. Intralobular sclerosis was observed to be the most frequent type of fibrosis regardless of alcohol intake. No differences in the enhancement of α-SMA expression in each type of fibrosis were found between the alcoholics and non-alcoholics. Electron microscopically, myofibroblasts were found around acini in the early stage of periacinar collagenization, and were accompanied by numerous fine filaments (8-15 nm in diameter). The various changes in zymogen granules (ZG), lysosomes and lipid droplets were augmented in the acinar cells of alcoholics. Medium-density materials were also found in dilated rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER). The contents of ZG and RER occasionally leaked out. In conclusion, pancreatic fibrosis was increased in alcoholics; myofibroblasts may play an important role in the initial stage of periacinar collagenization; and the intracellular transport blockage of protein as represented by abnormalities of ZG, ER and lysosomes may contribute to the development of periacinar collagenization.

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