Researchers Identify Calcium Signaling as Cause of ‘Cytokine Storm’ in Acute Pancreatitis

Findings could help treat pancreatic inflammation and COVID-19
American Physiological Society (APS)

Research Alert

Newswise — In this study, researchers recorded for the first time how calcium signals in immune cells within the pancreas are initiated. Scientists also found the number of immune cells in the pancreas increased significantly in the early stages of acute pancreatitis, and discovered how the pancreatic immune response could be triggered.

The discovery ”may be one of the most important mechanisms by which the pancreatic immune response is generated,” the researchers wrote. The finding “provides us with new targets for the treatment of acute pancreatitis.”

When acute pancreatitis triggers a “cytokine storm” (overreaction of the immune system), it causes multiple organ failure. This is similar to what happens in severe cases of COVID-19. Researchers are hopeful this will lead to new ways to treat acute pancreatitis, which may also be used to treat COVID-19.

Read the full article, “Calcium signaling in pancreatic immune cells in situ,” published ahead of print in Function.

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