Pancreatic disease

Last updated
Pancreatic disease
Specialty Gastroenterology   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Pancreatic diseases include:

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. There are two forms of pancreatitis, which are different in causes and symptoms, and require different treatment:

Pancreatitis Inflammation of the pancreas

Pancreatitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large organ behind the stomach that produces digestive enzymes and a number of hormones. There are two main types, acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis. Signs and symptoms of pancreatitis include pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting. The pain often goes into the back and is usually severe. In acute pancreatitis a fever may occur and symptoms typically resolve in a few days. In chronic pancreatitis weight loss, fatty stool, and diarrhea may occur. Complications may include infection, bleeding, diabetes mellitus, or problems with other organs.

Inflammation Signs of activation of the immune system

Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants, and is a protective response involving immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and initiate tissue repair.

Pancreas A glandular organ that plays a role in the digestive and endocrine systems of vertebrates.

The pancreas is an organ of the digestive system and endocrine system of vertebrates. In humans, it is located in the abdomen behind the stomach and functions as a gland.

Contents

Acute pancreatitis Human disease

Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas. Causes in order of frequency include a gallstone impacted in the common bile duct beyond the point where the pancreatic duct joins it; heavy alcohol use; systemic disease; trauma; and, in minors, mumps. Acute pancreatitis may be a single event; it may be recurrent; or it may progress to chronic pancreatitis.

Alcoholism Broad term for problems with alcohol

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems. The disorder was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions are present: a person drinks large amounts of alcohol over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use. Risky situations include drinking and driving or having unsafe sex, among other things. Alcohol use can affect all parts of the body, but it particularly affects the brain, heart, liver, pancreas and immune system. This can result in mental illness, Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, irregular heartbeat, an impaired immune response, liver cirrhosis and increased cancer risk, among other diseases. Drinking during pregnancy can cause damage to the baby resulting in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Women are generally more sensitive than men to the harmful physical and mental effects of alcohol.

Gallstone Disease where stones form in the gallbladder

A gallstone is a stone formed within the gallbladder out of bile components. The term cholelithiasis may refer to the presence of gallstones or to the diseases caused by gallstones. Most people with gallstones never have symptoms. When a gallstone blocks the bile duct, a cramp-like pain in the right upper part of the abdomen, known as biliary colic can result. This happens in 1–4% of those with gallstones each year. Complications of gallstones may include inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis), inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), jaundice, and infection of a bile duct (cholangitis). Symptoms of these complications may include pain of more than five hours duration, fever, yellowish skin, vomiting, dark urine, and pale stools.

Diabetes mellitus

The pancreas is central in the pathophysiology of both major types of diabetes mellitus. In type 1 diabetes mellitus, there is direct damage to the endocrine pancreas that results in insufficient insulin synthesis and secretion. Type 2 diabetes mellitus, which begins with insulin resistance, is characterized by the ultimate failure of pancreatic β cells to match insulin production with insulin demand.

Insulin mammalian protein found in Homo sapiens

Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreatic islets; it is considered to be the main anabolic hormone of the body. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein by promoting the absorption of carbohydrates, especially glucose from the blood into liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells. In these tissues the absorbed glucose is converted into either glycogen via glycogenesis or fats (triglycerides) via lipogenesis, or, in the case of the liver, into both. Glucose production and secretion by the liver is strongly inhibited by high concentrations of insulin in the blood. Circulating insulin also affects the synthesis of proteins in a wide variety of tissues. It is therefore an anabolic hormone, promoting the conversion of small molecules in the blood into large molecules inside the cells. Low insulin levels in the blood have the opposite effect by promoting widespread catabolism, especially of reserve body fat.

Insulin resistance (IR) is a pathological condition in which cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is the inability to properly digest food due to a lack of digestive enzymes made by the pancreas. EPI is found in humans afflicted with cystic fibrosis and Shwachman–Diamond syndrome. It is caused by a progressive loss of the pancreatic cells that make digestive enzymes. Chronic pancreatitis is the most common cause of EPI in humans. Loss of digestive enzymes leads to maldigestion and malabsorption of nutrients.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is the inability to properly digest food due to a lack of digestive enzymes made by the pancreas. EPI is found in humans afflicted with cystic fibrosis and Shwachman–Diamond syndrome, and is common in dogs. EPI is caused by a progressive loss of the pancreatic cells that make digestive enzymes; loss of digestive enzymes leads to maldigestion and malabsorption of nutrients from normal digestive processes.

Digestive enzymes are a group of enzymes that break down polymeric macromolecules into their smaller building blocks, in order to facilitate their absorption by the body. Digestive enzymes are found in the digestive tracts of animals and in the tracts of carnivorous plants, where they aid in the digestion of food, as well as inside cells, especially in their lysosomes, where they function to maintain cellular survival. Digestive enzymes of diverse specificities are found in the saliva secreted by the salivary glands, in the secretions of cells lining the stomach, in the pancreatic juice secreted by pancreatic exocrine cells, and in the secretions of cells lining the small and large intestines.

Shwachman–Diamond syndrome (SDS), or Shwachman–Bodian–Diamond syndrome, is a rare congenital disorder characterized by exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, bone marrow dysfunction, skeletal abnormalities and short stature. After cystic fibrosis (CF), it is the second most common cause of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in children.

Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis, is a hereditary disease that affects the entire body, causing progressive disability and early death. It is caused by a mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. The product of this gene helps create sweat, digestive juices, and mucus. The name cystic fibrosis refers to the characteristic 'fibrosis' (tissue scarring) and cyst formation within the pancreas, causing irreversible damage, and often resulting in painful inflammation (pancreatitis).

Cystic fibrosis Autosomal recessive disease

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestine. Long-term issues include difficulty breathing and coughing up mucus as a result of frequent lung infections. Other signs and symptoms may include sinus infections, poor growth, fatty stool, clubbing of the fingers and toes, and infertility in most males. Different people may have different degrees of symptoms.

Mutation A permanent change of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism

In biology, a mutation is the alteration of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism, virus, or extrachromosomal DNA.

Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator mammalian protein found in Homo sapiens

Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is a membrane protein and chloride channel in vertebrates that is encoded by the CFTR gene.

Pseudocysts

A pancreatic pseudocyst is a circumscribed collection of fluid rich in amylase and other pancreatic enzymes, blood and necrotic tissue, typically located in the lesser sac.

Pancreatic pseudocyst

A pancreatic pseudocyst is a circumscribed collection of fluid rich in pancreatic enzymes, blood, and necrotic tissue, typically located in the lesser sac of the abdomen. Pancreatic pseudocysts are usually complications of pancreatitis, although in children they frequently occur following abdominal trauma. Pancreatic pseudocysts account for approximately 75% of all pancreatic masses.

Amylase class of enzymes

Amylase is an enzyme that catalyses the hydrolysis of starch into sugars. Amylase is present in the saliva of humans and some other mammals, where it begins the chemical process of digestion. Foods that contain large amounts of starch but little sugar, such as rice and potatoes, may acquire a slightly sweet taste as they are chewed because amylase degrades some of their starch into sugar. The pancreas and salivary gland make amylase to hydrolyse dietary starch into disaccharides and trisaccharides which are converted by other enzymes to glucose to supply the body with energy. Plants and some bacteria also produce amylase. As diastase, amylase was the first enzyme to be discovered and isolated. Specific amylase proteins are designated by different Greek letters. All amylases are glycoside hydrolases and act on α-1,4-glycosidic bonds.

Enzyme Large biological molecule that acts as a catalyst

Enzymes are macromolecular biological catalysts that accelerate chemical reactions. The molecules upon which enzymes may act are called substrates, and the enzyme converts the substrates into different molecules known as products. Almost all metabolic processes in the cell need enzyme catalysis in order to occur at rates fast enough to sustain life. Metabolic pathways depend upon enzymes to catalyze individual steps. The study of enzymes is called enzymology and a new field of pseudoenzyme analysis has recently grown up, recognising that during evolution, some enzymes have lost the ability to carry out biological catalysis, which is often reflected in their amino acid sequences and unusual 'pseudocatalytic' properties.

Cysts

X-ray computed tomography (CT scan) findings of cysts in the pancreas are common, and often are benign. In a study of 2,832 patients without pancreatic disease, 73 patients (2.6%) had cysts in the pancreas. [1] About 85% of these patients had a single cyst. Cysts ranged in size from 2 to 38 mm (mean, 8.9 mm). There was a strong correlation between the presence of cysts and age. No cysts were identified among patients less than 40 years of age, while 8.7 percent of the patients aged 80 to 89 years had a pancreatic cyst.

Cysts also may be present due to intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm.

Congenital malformations

Pancreas divisum

Pancreas divisum is a malformation in which the pancreas fails to fuse. It is a rare condition that affects only 6% of the world's population, and of these few, only 1% ever have symptoms that require surgery.

Annular pancreas

Annular pancreas is characterized by a pancreas that encircles the duodenum. It results from an embryological malformation in which the early pancreatic buds undergo inappropriate rotation and fusion, which can lead to small bowel obstruction.

Neoplasms

See pancreatic tumors, benign or malignant (pancreatic cancer).

Benign

Tumor predisposition

Zollinger-Ellison syndrome

Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a collection of findings in individuals with gastrinoma, a tumor of the gastrin-producing cells of the pancreas. Unbridled gastrin secretion results in elevated levels of the hormone, and increased hydrochloric acid secretion from parietal cells of the stomach. It can lead to ulceration and scarring of the stomach and intestinal mucosa.

Hemosuccus pancreaticus

Hemosuccus pancreaticus, also known as pseudohematobilia or Wirsungorrhage, is a rare cause of hemorrhage in the gastrointestinal tract. It is caused by a bleeding source in the pancreas, pancreatic duct, or structures adjacent to the pancreas, such as the splenic artery, that bleed into the pancreatic duct. Patients with hemosuccus may develop symptoms of gastrointestinal hemorrhage, such as blood in the stools, maroon stools, or melena. They may also develop abdominal pain. Hemosuccus pancreaticus is associated with pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and aneurysms of the splenic artery. Angiography may be used to diagnose hemosuccus pancreaticus, where the celiac axis is injected to determine the blood vessel that is bleeding. Concomitant embolization of the end vessel may terminate the hemorrhage. Alternatively, a distal pancreatectomy may be required to stop the hemorrhage.

See also

Related Research Articles

Pancreatic cancer endocrine gland cancer located in the pancreas

Pancreatic cancer arises when cells in the pancreas, a glandular organ behind the stomach, begin to multiply out of control and form a mass. These cancerous cells have the ability to invade other parts of the body. There are a number of types of pancreatic cancer. The most common, pancreatic adenocarcinoma, accounts for about 85% of cases, and the term "pancreatic cancer" is sometimes used to refer only to that type. These adenocarcinomas start within the part of the pancreas which makes digestive enzymes. Several other types of cancer, which collectively represent the majority of the non-adenocarcinomas, can also arise from these cells. One to two percent of cases of pancreatic cancer are neuroendocrine tumors, which arise from the hormone-producing cells of the pancreas. These are generally less aggressive than pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Insulinoma adenoma that is located in the pancreas and is characterized by overproduction of insulin

An insulinoma is a tumor of the pancreas that is derived from beta cells and secretes insulin. It is a rare form of a neuroendocrine tumor. Most insulinomas are benign in that they grow exclusively at their origin within the pancreas, but a minority metastasize. Insulinomas are one of the functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (PNET) group. In the Medical Subject Headings classification, insulinoma is the only subtype of "islet cell adenoma".

Maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY) refers to any of several hereditary forms of diabetes mellitus caused by mutations in an autosomal dominant gene disrupting insulin production. MODY is often referred to as monogenic diabetes to distinguish it from the more common types of diabetes, which involve more complex combinations of causes involving multiple genes and environmental factors. MODY 2 and MODY 3 are the most common forms. MODY should not be confused with latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA) — a form of type 1 DM, with slower progression to insulin dependence than child-onset type 1 DM, and which occurs later in life.

Chronic pancreatitis Human disease

Chronic pancreatitis is a long-standing inflammation of the pancreas that alters the organ's normal structure and functions. It can present as episodes of acute inflammation in a previously injured pancreas, or as chronic damage with persistent pain or malabsorption. It is a disease process characterized by irreversible damage to the pancreas as distinct from reversible changes in acute pancreatitis.

Pancreatic enzymes (medication) pharmaceutical drug

Pancreatic enzymes, also known as pancrelipase and pancreatin, are commercial mixtures of amylase, lipase, and protease. They are used to treat malabsorption syndrome due to certain pancreatic problems. These pancreatic problems may be due to cystic fibrosis, surgical removal of the pancreas, long term pancreatitis, or pancreatic cancer, among others. The preparation is taken by mouth.

Pancreatectomy surgical removal of all or part of the pancreas

In medicine, a pancreatectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of the pancreas. Several types of pancreatectomy exist, including pancreaticoduodenectomy, distal pancreatectomy, segmental pancreatectomy, and total pancreatectomy. These procedures are used in the management of several conditions involving the pancreas, such as benign pancreatic tumors, pancreatic cancer, and pancreatitis.

Hamartoma A non cancerous growth made up of an abnormal mixture of cells and tissues normally found in the area of the body.

A hamartoma is a mostly benign, focal malformation that resembles a neoplasm in the tissue of its origin. While traditionally considered developmental malformation, many hamartomas have clonal chromosomal aberrations that are acquired through somatic mutations and on this basis are now considered to be neoplastic. It grows at the same rate as the surrounding tissue. It is composed of tissue elements normally found at that site, but they are growing in a disorganized manner. Hamartomas occur in many different parts of the body, and are most often asymptomatic incidentalomas.

Pancreatic elastase is a form of elastase that is produced in the acinar cells of the pancreas, initially produced as an inactive zymogen and later activated in the duodenum by trypsin. Elastases form a subfamily of serine proteases, characterized by a distinctive structure consisting of two beta barrel domains converging at the active site that hydrolyze amides and esters amongst many proteins in addition to elastin, a type of connective tissue that holds organs together. Pancreatic elastase 1 is a serine endopeptidase, a specific type of protease that has the amino acid serine at its active site. Although the recommended name is pancreatic elastase, it can also be referred to as elastase-1, pancreatopeptidase, PE, or serine elastase.

Somatostatinoma is a tumor of the delta cells of the endocrine pancreas that produces somatostatin. Increased levels of somatostatin inhibit pancreatic hormones and gastrointestinal hormones. Thus somatostatinomas are associated with mild diabetes mellitus, steatorrhoea and gallstones, and achlorhydria. Somatostatinomas are commonly found in head of pancreas. Only ten percent of somatostatinomas are functional tumours [9], and 60-70% of tumours are malignant. Nearly two thirds of patients with malignant somatostatinomas will present with metastatic disease.

Hemosuccus pancreaticus is a rare cause of hemorrhage in the gastrointestinal tract. It is caused by a bleeding source in the pancreas, pancreatic duct, or structures adjacent to the pancreas, such as the splenic artery, that bleed into the pancreatic duct, which is connected with the bowel at the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. Patients with hemosuccus may develop symptoms of gastrointestinal hemorrhage, such as blood in the stools, maroon stools, or melena, which is a dark, tarry stool caused by digestion of red blood cells. They may also develop abdominal pain. It is associated with pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and aneurysms of the splenic artery. Hemosuccus may be identified with endoscopy (esophagogastroduodenoscopy), where fresh blood may be seen from the pancreatic duct. Alternatively, angiography may be used to inject the celiac axis to determine the blood vessel that is bleeding. This may also be used to treat hemosuccus, as embolization of the end vessel may terminate the hemorrhage. However, a distal pancreatectomy—surgery to removal of the tail of the pancreas—may be required to stop the hemorrhage.

Johanson–Blizzard syndrome congenital disorder of digestive system

Johanson–Blizzard syndrome is a rare, sometimes fatal autosomal recessive multisystem congenital disorder featuring abnormal development of the pancreas, nose and scalp, with mental retardation, hearing loss and growth failure. It is sometimes described as a form of ectodermal dysplasia.

Canine pancreatitis

Canine pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that can occur in two very different forms. Acute pancreatitis is sudden, while chronic pancreatitis is characterized by recurring or persistent form of pancreatic inflammation. Cases of both can be considered mild or severe.

Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD) is diabetes specifically caused by cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition. Cystic fibrosis related diabetes mellitus (CFRD) develops with age, and the median age at diagnosis is 21 years.

Dulaglutide, sold under the brand name Trulicity among others, is a medication used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It can be used once weekly.

Type 3c (pancreatogenic) diabetes

Type 3c diabetes is diabetes that comes secondary to pancreatic diseases, involving the exocrine and digestive functions of the pancreas.

References

  1. Laffan T, Horton KM, Klein AP, et al. (Sep 2008). "Prevalence of unsuspected pancreatic cysts on MDCT". AJR Am J Roentgenol. 191 (3): 802–807. doi:10.2214/AJR.07.3340. PMC   2692243 . PMID   18716113.
Classification
D