Oxidative stress: An important phenomenon with pathogenetic significance in the progression of acute pancreatitis

K. Tsai, S. S. Wang, Tyng-Guey Chen, Chi-Woon Kong, Full-Young Chang, Shou-Dong Lee, Fung Jou Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Citations (Scopus)


Background - Reactive oxygen species and related oxidative damage have been implicated in the initiation of acute pancreatitis. Changes in these parameters during disease progression merit further investigation. Aims - To evaluate changes and the clinical relevance of superoxide radicals, endogenous antioxidants, and lipid peroxidation during the course of acute pancreatitis. Patients and methods - Superoxide radicals (measured as lucigenin amplified chemiluminescence), ascorbic acid, dehydroascorbic acid, α tocopherol, and lipid peroxidation (measured as thiobarbiturate reactive substances) were analysed in blood samples from 56 healthy subjects, 30 patients with mild acute pancreatitis, and 23 patients with severe acute pancreatitis. The association with grades of disease severity was analysed. Measurements were repeated one and two weeks after onset of pancreatitis. Results - In the blood from patients with acute pancreatitis, there were increased levels of the superoxide radical as well as lipid peroxides. There was notable depletion of ascorbic acid and an increased fraction of dehydroascorbic acid. Changes in α tocopherol were not great except in one case with poor prognosis. Differences between severe and mild acute pancreatitis were significant (p<0.01). Variable but significant correlations with disease severity scores were found for most of these markers. The normalisation of these indexes postdated clinical recovery one or two weeks after onset of disease. Conclusions - Heightened oxidative stress appears early in the course of acute pancreatitis and lasts longer than the clinical manifestations. The dependence of disease severity on the imbalance between oxidants and natural defences suggests that oxidative stress may have a pivotal role in the progression of pancreatitis and may provide a target for treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)850-855
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Antioxidants
  • Free radicals
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Superoxides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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