Virchows Archiv A

, Volume 415, Issue 2, pp 115–124 | Cite as

Immunocytochemical and morphometric analysis of acinar zymogen granules in human acute pancreatitis

  • Sebastian Willemer
  • Günter Klöppel
  • Horst F. Kern
  • Guido Adler


In the present study fine structural changes of acinar zymogen granules were investigated in human acute pancreatitis. Pancreatic tissue was obtained at surgery from 6 patients, prepared for ultrastructural analysis, and stained immunocytochemically for trypsinogen. Stereological parameters of zymogen granules were evaluated. The density of the immunocytochemical labelling for trypsinogen was estimated over zymogen granules, the rough endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus and the acinar lumina. In acute pancreatitis the number of zymogen granules was diminished and their size reduced. The density of the labelling for trypsinogen was unchanged over zymogen granules but showed a significant reduction over the rough endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, and the acinar lumina. In general the integrity of zymogen granules was well preserved. Focally degenerative changes of zymogen granules and large autophagosomes were observed. From the immunogold labelling a disturbance of enzyme synthesis and secretion was suggested. Evidence is given that a disruption of the zymogen granule membranes and a fusion with lysosomal bodies might contribute to the pathogenesis of human acute pancreatitis.

Key words

Human acute pancreatitis Zymogen granules Acinar cells Electron microscopy Immunocytochemistry Morphometry 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Willemer
    • 1
  • Günter Klöppel
    • 3
  • Horst F. Kern
    • 2
  • Guido Adler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicinePhilipps-University MarburgMarburgFederal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Department of Cell BiologyPhilipps-University MarburgMarburgFederal Republic of Germany
  3. 3.Department of PathologyFree University of BrusselsBelgium

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