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Annu Rev Med. 2010;61:413-24. doi: 10.1146/

Genetic aspects of pancreatitis.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis are complex inflammatory disorders of the pancreas with unpredictable severity, complications, and clinical courses. Growing evidence for genetic risk and modifying factors, plus strong evidence that only a minority of patients with these disorders are heavy alcohol drinkers, has revolutionized our concept of these diseases. Once considered a self-inflicted injury, pancreatitis is now recognized as a complex inflammatory condition like inflammatory bowel disease. Genetic linkage and candidate gene studies have identified six pancreas-targeting factors that are associated with changes in susceptibility to acute and/or chronic pancreatitis, including cationic trypsinogen (PRSS1), anionic trypsinogen (PRSS2), serine protease inhibitor Kazal 1 (SPINK1), cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), chymotrypsinogen C (CTRC) and calcium-sensing receptor (CASR). Patients with mutations in these genes are at increased risk of pancreatitis caused by a variety of stresses including hyperlipidemia and hypercalcemia. Multiple studies are reporting new polymorphisms, as well as complex gene x gene and gene x environmental interactions.

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