Background and Aims: Recent reports suggest that platelet-activating factor (PAF) plays a role in pancreatitis and pancreatitis-associated lung injury. In this study, the effects on these processes of termination of PAF action by recombinant PAF-acetylhydrolase (rPAF-AH) were investigated. Methods: Rats were given rPAF-AH and then infused with a supramaximally stimulating dose of cerulein to induce mild pancreatitis. Opossums underwent biliopancreatic duct ligation to induce severe pancreatitis, and rPAF-AH administration was begun 2 days later. Results: In mild, secretagogue- induced pancreatitis, rPAF-AH given before the cerulein reduced hyperamylasemia, acinar cell vacuolization, and pancreatic inflammation but did not alter pancreatic edema or pulmonary microvascular permeability. In severe, biliopancreatic duct ligation-induced pancreatitis, rPAF-AH delayed and reduced the extent of inflammation and acinar cell injury/necrosis and completely prevented lung injury even though the rPAF-AH administration was begun after the onset of pancreatitis. Conclusions: PAF plays an important role in the regulation of pancreatic injury but not pancreatic edema or increased pulmonary microvascular permeability in mild, secretagogue-induced pancreatitis. PAF plays a critical role in the regulation of progression of pancreatic injury and mediation of pancreatitis-associated lung injury in severe biliary pancreatitis. Amelioration of pancreatitis and prevention of pancreatitis-associated lung injury can be achieved with rPAF-AH even if treatment is begun after pancreatitis is established.
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