Immunology of pancreatitis and environmental factors

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This report reviews recent aspects of pancreatitis immunology and environmental factors that link to development and progression of disease.

Recent findings

Limited human and animal model studies have recently attempted to understand immune mechanisms that lead to the pathogenesis of acute and chronic pancreatitis. Based on these studies innate immune responses emerge as critical elements in disease pathogenesis and severity of inflammation. The immune basis for environmental factors such as smoking, which are highly associated with disease progression highlight novel cross talk mechanisms between immune and nonimmune pancreatic cells such as the pancreatic stellate cells.

Summary

Better understanding of immune responses and signaling pathways are emerging as important contributors in pancreatitis development and progression. Such mechanisms are likely to offer future targetable therapies that can either halt or reverse disease progression.

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