Effects of thalidomide in a mouse model of cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis

Giuseppe Malleo, Emanuela Mazzon, Tiziana Genovese, Rosanna Di Paola, Carmelo Muià, Concetta Crisafulli, Ajith K. Siriwardena, Salvatore Cuzzocrea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current knowledge shows that pathophysiology of acute pancreatitis is characterized by intraacinar enzyme activation and subsequent dysregulation in immune response. Interactions between leukocytes, soluble mediators such as cytokines and vascular endothelium contribute to the systemic progression of the inflammatory response, whose entity may-in the end-determine disease severity and outcome. Recently, it has been shown that TNF-α may be a novel target for the treatment of acute pancreatitis; but the role of thalidomide, an immunomodulatory agent that inhibits TNF-α and angiogenesis, has not been investigated so far. The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of thalidomide in a murine model of necrotizing acute pancreatitis. Necrotizing acute pancreatitis was induced in mice by intraperitoneal injection of cerulein (hourly, ×5, 50 μg/kg); in another group of animals, thalidomide was administered (200 mg/kg orally) at 1 h after first cerulein injection. After 24 h, biochemical, histological, and immunohistochemical evidences of acute pancreatitis developed in all cerulein-treated mice. On the contrary, pancreatitis histological features, amylase, lipase, TNF-α and IL-1β levels, pancreas edema, and myeloperoxidase activity as well as immunohistochemical staining for inflammatory cytokines, leukocyte adhesion molecules, transforming growth factor β, vascular endothelial growth factor, and apoptosis-related proteins were found reduced in thalidomide-treated mice. Therefore, thalidomide treatment attenuates the development of acute pancreatitis caused by cerulein in mice. We propose that this evidence may help to clarify the role of anti-TNF-α and immunomodulatory agents in patients with acute pancreatitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


  • Adhesion molecules
  • Apoptosis
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation
  • Neutrophil infiltration
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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