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JOP. 2012 Sep 10;13(5):476-81. doi: 10.6092/1590-8577/522.

Effects of porcine pancreatic enzymes on the pancreas of hamsters. Part 1: basic studies.

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Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases, Omaha, NE 68198-6805, USA.



Porcine pancreatic enzymes (PPE) extracted from glandular stomach has been used for the treatment of pancreatic cancer patients. Unfortunately, no information is available on the in vitro and in vivo effect on the pancreas and other tissues.


We used Syrian Golden hamsters, a unique pancreatic cancer model, to obtain basic information on PPE for its eventual use for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.


PPE was used in different concentrations in vitro and in vivo. The stability of the enzyme in the water solution was investigated. It was given to the hamsters by gavage in concentrations of 1g/kg and 400 mg/kg for short periods and in aqueous solution for 65 days. Plasma enzyme and insulin, the size of islets and the number of the insulin cells per islet were examined.


The enzyme activity of PPE was maintained in water solution for at least 24 hours. Due to its content of calcium chloride it showed a high toxicity to normal and malignant hamster pancreatic cancer cells and human pancreatic cancer cell lines in vitro. PPE did not alter the plasma pancreatic enzyme levels regardless of the dose, duration and application route. On the contrary, PPE reduced their levels significantly. Remarkably, it also reduced the level of insulin, the size of the islets and the number of insulin cells in the islets significantly.


The results imply that PPE does not enter the blood circulation but it appears to slow down the function of both the exocrine and endocrine pancreas.

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