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Gastroenterology. 2011 Dec;141(6):2210-2217.e2. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2011.08.033. Epub 2011 Aug 27.

Intra-acinar trypsinogen activation mediates early stages of pancreatic injury but not inflammation in mice with acute pancreatitis.

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Division of Basic and Translational Research, Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.



The role of trypsinogen activation in the pathogenesis of acute pancreatitis (AP) has not been clearly established.


We generated and characterized mice lacking trypsinogen isoform 7 (T7) gene (T(-/-)). The effects of pathologic activation of trypsinogen were studied in these mice during induction of AP with cerulein. Acinar cell death, tissue damage, early intra-acinar activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), and local and systemic inflammation were compared between T(-/-) and wild-type mice with AP.


Deletion of T7 reduced the total trypsinogen content by 60% but did not affect physiologic function. T(-/-) mice lacked pathologic activation of trypsinogen, which occurs within acinar cells during early stages of AP progression. Absence of trypsinogen activation in T(-/-) mice led to near complete inhibition of acinar cell death in vitro and a 50% reduction in acinar necrosis during AP progression. However, T(-/-) mice had similar degrees of local and systemic inflammation during AP progression and comparable levels of intra-acinar NF-κB activation, which was previously shown to occur concurrently with trypsinogen activation during early stages of pancreatitis.


T7 is activated during pathogenesis of AP in mice. Intra-acinar trypsinogen activation leads to acinar death during early stages of pancreatitis, which accounts for 50% of the pancreatic damage in AP. However, progression of local and systemic inflammation in AP does not require trypsinogen activation. NF-κB is activated early in acinar cells, independently of trypsinogen activation, and might be responsible for progression of AP.

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