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Gut. 2005 Oct;54(10):1461-7. Epub 2005 May 3.

A mouse model of ethanol dependent pancreatic fibrosis.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



The majority of patients with chronic pancreatitis are alcoholics. Our goal was to develop a mouse model of alcohol dependent chronic pancreatitis.


Mice were fed either the non-alcohol containing Lieber-DeCarli diet or the Lieber-DeCarli diet containing 24% of calories as ethanol. After eight weeks and while on their respective diets, mice were subjected to repeated episodes of acute pancreatitis elicited by administration of caerulein. They were sacrificed 1, 3, and 5 weeks after the last dose of caerulein. Pancreatic morphology and collagen deposition were evaluated in samples stained with haematoxylin-eosin and Sirius red. Collagen content was quantitated by measuring OH-proline. Gene expression was determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction.


Both groups of mice gained weight at the same rate. Those receiving the alcohol containing diet had serum alcohol levels of approximately 100 mM. No histological or gene expression differences were found in mice that were not subjected to acute pancreatitis, regardless of their diet. Necrosis, Sirius red staining, OH-proline content, and expression of alpha-1 collagen I, alpha-smooth muscle actin, transforming growth factor beta1, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 were all increased in mice fed the alcohol containing diet and given caerulein compared with those fed the control diet and given caerulein. Matrix metalloproteinase 9 expression was transiently decreased in mice fed ethanol and given caerulein compared with the group given caerulein but not fed ethanol.


We have developed a mouse model of alcohol dependent chronic pancreatic fibrosis. This mouse model may be useful in studies examining the effects of genetic manipulation on chronic pancreatitis.

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