Indexed on: 08 Oct '08Published on: 08 Oct '08Published in: Antioxidants & redox signaling
Reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of acute and chronic pancreatitis. Clinical and basic science studies have indicated that ROS/RNS formation processes are intimately linked to the development of the inflammatory disorders. The detrimental effects of highly reactive ROS/RNS are mediated by their direct actions on biomolecules (lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids) and activation of proinflammatory signal cascades, which subsequently lead to activation of immune responses. The present article summarizes the possible sources of ROS/RNS formation and the detailed signaling cascades implicated in the pathogenesis of pancreatic inflammation, as observed in acute and chronic pancreatitis. A therapeutic ROS/RNS-scavenging strategy has been advocated for decades; however, clinical studies examining such approaches have been inconsistent in their results. Emerging evidence indicates that pancreatitis-inducing ROS/RNS generation may be attenuated by targeting ROS/RNS-generating enzymes and upstream mediators.