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Digestion. 1998;59(3):192-8.

Immunohistochemical characterization of the pancreatic cellular infiltrate in normal pancreas, chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic carcinoma.

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Department of Medicine, University of Lübeck, Germany.



Chronic pancreatitis is histologically characterized by an extended fibrosis and infiltration of leukocytes. We intended to differentiate the infiltration to evaluate the inflammatory process.


Samples of tissues of normal pancreas (NP, n = 12), of chronic pancreatitis (CP, n = 7), and pancreatic tissues surrounding pancreatic carcinoma (CA, n = 7) were investigated by immunohistochemical staining using the APAAP technique.


In normal pancreas, mononuclear cells (47.1 +/- 26.0 cells/mm2) were observed with a predominance of macrophages (56.3%) and T lymphocytes (31.3%) which were differentiated in CD8+ lymphocytes (9.3 +/- 7.2 cells/ mm2) and CD4+ lymphocytes (6.7 +/- 3.2 cells/mm2). Rarely, plasma cells (5.3%) and B lymphocytes (7.1%) could be detected. In pancreatic tissue of patients with CP and in CA there was a significant increase of mononuclear cells to 264.4 +/- 120.3 cells/mm2 and 284.3 +/- 67.8 cells/mm2, respectively. In both diseases percentages of T lymphocytes (CP: 50.5%; CA: 48.1%) were higher than in normal controls. CD4+/CD8+ ratio of 0.77 in CP and 0.82 in CA demonstrated a predominance of CD8+ cells compared to the peripheral blood. In NP and CA, nearly all T lymphocytes expressed CD45R0 identifying memory cells, while only 58% of T lymphocytes were CD45R0 positive in CP.


Our data suggest that the investigated cases of CP were of a common inflammatory type rather than due to an autoimmunological reaction. CD8+ T lymphocytes were the predominant T cell subset in the inflammatory infiltrates in both CP and CA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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