Additional Statements

As mentioned above, animal models of pancreatitis show various features. Obviously, it is not possible to extrapolate these characteristics to pancreatic fibrosis in humans. However, use of these models for study purposes might be effective and may provide medical guidelines for treatment of the disease. It is therefore important that researchers understand well the features of each model, estimate the reactions of these models to treatment with accuracy and, moreover, clearly focus on those features that can be applied to the human case.

In the future, more and more pancreatic fibrosis-related proteins and genes will undoubtedly be discovered [147-149, 154-165]. Particularly the identification of the regulatory genes that control the genes involved in the synthesis of type I collagen may result in better therapeutic strategies [150, 157, 166, 167]. At present, genetic research on the pancreas is still difficult, as the pancreas is too rich in digestive enzymes to allow collection of its DNA or RNA. When the techniques in genomic analysis, which have markedly developed in recent years, become more practicable, the pancreatitis-related genes will be found and the cause of irreversible fibrosis may be revealed in detail, hopefully leading to more effective therapies for pancreatitis.

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