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JOP. 2006 Mar 9;7(2):185-92.

Malondialdehyde and superoxide dismutase as potential markers of severity in acute pancreatitis.

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University Surgical Unit, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom.



Release of oxygen free radicals is increased in acute pancreatitis, but whether this can be used to predict clinical severity is not known.


This study assesses whether plasma concentrations of malondialdehyde (a marker of lipid peroxidation) and superoxide dismutase (an oxygen free radical scavenger) can be used to predict severity of acute pancreatitis.


Fifty-one patients with acute pancreatitis and two control groups were recruited.


Plasma levels of malondialdehyde and erythrocyte content of superoxide dismutase were measured at 0, 12, 24, 48, 72, 96 and 120 hours after admission. Acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE) II, Glasgow and Ranson scores were calculated. Acute pancreatitis severity was defined by Atlanta criteria. Premorbid antioxidant intake was assessed by dietary questionnaire.


Levels of malondialdehyde were raised in acute pancreatitis patients and increased in patients with severe compared with mild acute pancreatitis; 12 hours after admission plasma malondialdehyde was 4.42+/-0.54 micromol/L and 2.95+/-0.24 micromol/L in severe and mild pancreatitis, respectively (mean+/-SEM; P=0.007). Plasma malondialdehyde greater than 2.75 micromol/L at 12 hours after admission had high overall accuracy for predicting severe acute pancreatitis. Superoxide dismutase levels were found to decrease in acute pancreatitis but no substantial significant difference was demonstrated between severe and mild acute pancreatitis patients. There was no difference in pre-morbid antioxidant dietary intake between the mild and severe pancreatitis groups.


Plasma malondialdehyde may be a helpful additional marker of severity in the very early stages of acute pancreatitis.

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