Alcoholic pancreatitis: Lessons from the liver

Dahn L. Clemens, Katrina J. Mahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

The association between alcohol consumption and pancreatitis has been recognized for over 100 years. Despite the fact that this association is well recognized, the mechanisms by which alcohol abuse leads to pancreatic tissue damage are not entirely clear. Alcohol abuse is the major factor associated with pancreatitis in the Western world. Interestingly, although most cases of chronic pancreatitis and many cases of acute pancreatitis are associated with alcohol abuse, only a small percentage of individuals who abuse alcohol develop this disease. This situation is reminiscent of the association between alcohol abuse and the incidence of alcoholic liver disease. The liver and the pancreas are developmentally very closely related. Even though these two organs are quite different, they exhibit a number of general structural and functional similarities. Furthermore, the diseases mediated by alcohol abuse in these organs exhibit some striking similarities. The diseases in both organs are characterized by parenchymal cell damage, activation of stellate cells, aberrant wound healing, and fibrosis. Because of the similarities between the liver and the pancreas, and the alcohol-associated diseases of these organs, we may be able to apply much of the knowledge that we have gained regarding the effects of alcohol on the liver to the pancreas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1314-1320
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume16
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 21 2010

Keywords

  • Alcohol metabolism
  • Alcoholic pancreatitis
  • Fibrosis
  • Stellate cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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