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Is a fatty pancreas a banal lesion?

Andrzej Smereczyński, Katarzyna Kołaczyk

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2016; 16: 273–280
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2016.0027

So far, a fatty pancreas has been related to obesity and the ageing processes in the body. The current list of pathogenetic factors of the condition is clearly extended with genetically conditioned diseases (cystic fibrosis, Shwachman-Diamond syndrome and Johanson-Blizzard syndrome), pancreatitis, especially hereditary and obstructive, metabolic and hormonal disorders (hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia, hyperinsulinemia and hypercortisolemia), alcohol overuse, taking some medicines (especially adrenal cortex hormones), disease of the liver and visceral adiposis. As regards lipomatosis of that organ resulting mainly from dyslipidemia and hyperglycemia, the term “nonalcoholic fatty pancreas disease” was introduced. Experimental studies on animals and histological preparations of the pancreatic fragments show that the lipotoxicity of the collected adipocytes collected ion the organ release a cascade of proinflammatory phenomena, and even induces the processes of carcinogenesis. Pancreas adiposis is best defined in Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. However, a series of works proved the usefulness in the diagnostics of that pathology of transabdominal and endoscopic ultrasonography. In that method, the degree of adiposis was based on the comparison of echogenicity of the pancreas and the liver, renal parenchyma, spleen and/or retroperitoneal adipose. Recently, the evaluation was expanded by the evaluation of the degree of pancreatic adipose with the pancreas-to-liver index, utilizing to that end a special computer program. According to our experience, the simplest solution is the method utilized by us. On one crosssection of the body of the pancreas, its echogenicity is assessed in comparison to retroperitoneal adipose and the visibility of the splenic vein, pancreatic duct and the major retroperitoneal vessels. Depending on the visualization of these structures, it is possible to determine the degree of pancreas adiposis. Such a study applies to 250 people, in whom the adiposis was detected in 16.5%, which is close to other cohort US examinations results.

pancreas, adiposis, adiposis classification, nonalcoholic fatty pancreas disease, ultrasonography