International Journal of Pancreatology

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 137–145 | Cite as

Cytokine gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells reflects a systemic immune response in alcoholic chronic pancreatitis

  • Christoph Hanck
  • Siegbert Rossol
  • Annette Hartmann
  • Manfred V. Singer
Original Article


Background. Recent data provide evidence of a systemic inflammatory response in severe acute pancreatitis; in contrast, the exact immune mechanisms underlying chronic pancreatitis remain unclear.

Methods. To investigate the immune response in the clinical features of chronic pancreatitis, we investigated the gene expression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-p55 and -p75 and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of 18 patients with late-stage alcoholic chronic pancreatitis of different disease activity (Balthazar criteria).

Results. Semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction revealed a significantly enhanced gene expression of TNF-α (P<0.005), TNFR-p55 (P<0.05) and TNFR-p75 (P<0.01) in unstimulated PBMC of patients with advanced chronic pancreatitis (11/18 with calcifications) compared to healthy controls (n=8). No significant difference was found between patients with mild acute pancreatitis and patients with an inactive quiescent pancreatitis. Moreover, no expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase was detectable.

Conclusions. The enhanced gene expression of TNFR-p75, TNFR-p55 and TNF-α in unstimulated PBMC demonstrates an enhanced leucocyte activation in patients with late-stage chronic pancreatitis and suggests a pathogenetic role of the cytotoxic TNF-α pathway in the clinical features of alcoholic chronic pancreatitis. The pathogenetic role of nitric oxide in chronic pancreatitis remains to be fully elucidated.

Key Words

Late-stage alcoholic chronic pancreatitis mRNA expression tumor necrosis factor-α tumor necrosis factor receptor-p55/-p75 inducible nitric oxide synthase 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Hanck
    • 1
  • Siegbert Rossol
    • 1
  • Annette Hartmann
    • 1
  • Manfred V. Singer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medicine IV (Gastroenterology & Hepatology)University Hospital of Heidelberg at MannheimMannheimGermany

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