The clinical manifestations of acute pancreatitis (AP) vary significantly from mild to lethal in form, the severity of the disease being largely determined by the actions of various kinds of inflammatory mediators, including cytokines, reactive oxygen species, proteolytic enzymes, and lipids, as well as gaseous mediators. Despite increasing knowledge implicating the involvement of cytokines in the progression of AP, no clinical trials pertaining to cytokine modulation have been performed so far. Progress in intensive care technologies has contributed to the improvement of mortality and morbidity rates in severe AP in the past decade; however, it appears to be reasonable for clinicians to "line up their sights" on the modulation of cytokines as a direct treatment. In contrast to the large body of experimental studies demonstrating the beneficial effects of cytokine modulation on the amelioration of the disease, direct extrapolation from these successful experiments to the clinical situation seems to be extremely difficult.
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