Diagnosis of paricreatitis is based on the determination of serum amylase and lipase levels. However, recent identification of specific leptin receptors in the pancreas suggests that this peptide may also play some roles in the modulation of pancreatic function. The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between serum leptin levels and pancreatitis. Thirty male Wistar rats were divided into 3 groups: the control group, acute pancreatitis group and chronic pancreatitis group. Pancreatitis was Induced by injection of ethyl alcohol into the common biliary duct. A sham laparotomy was performed in the control group. Control and acute pancreatitis groups were sacrificed 24 hours later, and chronic pancreatitis group was sacrificed on postoperative day 7. Blood was taken by cardiac puncture for the determination of plasma leptin levels, and the pancreatic tissue was excised for histopathologic confirmation of pancreatitis. Plasma leptin rose significantly from the median of 0.78 +/- 0.12 ng/ml in the control group to 1.92 +/- 0.10 ng/ml and 1.86 +/- 0.13 ng/ml in acute and chronic pancreatitis groups, respectively (p < 0.001, for both). There was no significant difference in the plasma leptin levels between the acute pancreatitis group and the chronic pancreatitis group (p > 0.05). These findings confirm that leptin has a role in pancreas inflammation, and the inflamed tissue can be the Source of local production of leptin. - leptin; acute pancreatitis; chronic pancreatitis (C) 2004 Tohoku University Medical Press.