Role of Antioxidants Supplementation in Chronic Pancreatitis

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Brief Title

Role of Antioxidants Supplementation in Chronic Pancreatitis

Official Title

Effect of Antioxidant Supplementation on Pain, Antioxidant Profile and Oxidative Stress in Patients With Chronic Pancreatitis

Brief Summary

      Chronic pancreatitis is a progressive inflammatory disease of the pancreas that presents with
      abdominal pain and in late stages may cause diabetes and malnutrition. The pain may be
      incapacitating and may affect patients physically, mentally and socially. Pain due to chronic
      pancreatitis is difficult to treat. Oxidative stress and free radical mediated injury has
      been shown to cause pancreatic inflammation. It has been shown that patients with chronic
      pancreatitis are deficient in micronutrients and natural antioxidants such as b-carotene,
      vitamin E and C etc. Studies have suggested that antioxidant supplementation may help to
      combat pain in these patients. Antioxidant supplementation may decrease the oxidative stress
      and boost the antioxidant status, thereby resulting in pain relief. The investigators have
      planned to perform a trial to study the effect of antioxidant supplementation on pain relief
      in patients with chronic pancreatitis.

Detailed Description

      INTRODUCTION Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is a progressive inflammatory disease of the pancreas
      accompanied by abdominal pain and in late stages, by exocrine and endocrine insufficiency.
      The etiology of CP include alcohol abuse, hereditary, ductal obstruction, tropical
      pancreatitis, systemic diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus and cystic fibrosis etc.), and
      idiopathic. Alcohol abuse accounts for 70-80% of cases of chronic pancreatitis in the West
      and about 40% in India. The intensity of injury depends on the duration and amount of alcohol
      consumed. Hereditary pancreatitis transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait accounts for a
      small subset of all cases of CP, and occurs due to mutation in cationic trypsinogen gene.
      Pancreatic duct obstruction may be secondary to trauma, pseudocysts, calcific stones or
      tumors and leads to obstructive CP (1). Tropical pancreatitis is a condition of unknown
      etiology that is seen predominantly in south India and other tropical areas of the World.
      Young patients are commonly affected with this disease. Cassava consumption had been proposed
      as an etiological factor due to its cyanogenic glycoside content however no epidemiological
      study has proved this hypothesis (2). Malnutrition has been suggested as an etiological
      factor in tropical pancreatitis. Idiopathic pancreatitis accounts for a substantial number of

      Many recent studies have emphasized a role for Reactive Oxygen Radicals (ROR) in the
      development of oxidative stress and hence inflammation in the pathogenesis of chronic
      pancreatitis. Increased oxidative stress probably results from increased exposure to
      xenobiotics. Xenobiotics are chemical substances present in the environment to which human
      beings are constantly exposed. It is conceivable that many of these xenobiotics are
      metabolized in pancreas that contains cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzymatic system. The
      metabolism of xenobiotics occurs through two phases, Phase I and Phase II. Phase I metabolism
      may result in 'bioactivation' of the xenobiotics, in turn activating CYP system. Phase II
      involves attachment of biotransformed compound to a biological molecule that makes it more
      polar and thus easier to excrete. The metabolism of xenobiotics places an oxidative stress
      and can overwhelm the natural antioxidant defense of the body. The resultant production of
      the free radicals may play an important role in the pathogenesis of CP (2). Over induction of
      this enzyme can cause increased utilization of glutathione (GSH), which causes irreversible
      loss of glutathione. Moreover glutathione serves as a reservoir for cysteine/cystine required
      for disulphide synthesis for pancreatic digestive proteins. This further aggravates the
      situation. Three types of cytochrome enzymes are induced through xenobiotics. CYP2E1 has been
      specifically examined in the context of liver injury. CYP1A metabolizes smoke constituents
      and potent carcinogens such as benzo(a)pyrene. Cytochrome 3A is inducible by reactive oxygen
      species generated from aflatoxin B1. Alcohol, nicotine from cigarette smoke and other forms
      of tobacco consumption and industrial pollutants all are considered as xenobiotics and
      overwhelm the detoxification capacity of cytochrome CYP450 system (3). The CYP induction
      increases heme and heme-oxygenase thus buttressing the antioxidant defenses. The free radical
      peroxidation products may act as second messengers and block exocytosis leading to increased
      autophagy and crinophagy thus diverting the pancreatic enzymes into interstitium. This leads
      to degranulation of mast cells inducing inflammation mediated by chemotaxis. The synthesis of
      enzyme proteins in pancreas also produces H2O2, which also induces free radical production.
      Furthermore the depressed methionine trans-sulphuration pathway induces CYP as well. The free
      radicals generated from all these processes induce oxidative stress, which is implicated in
      damage to cell membranes due to lipid peroxidation. Above all, if the antioxidant levels of
      an individual are may be low due to either low intake or depletion during oxidative stress.
      Some studies also indicate that free radicals cause disintegration of antioxidative enzymes
      if over exposed to them.

      However, the role of oxidative stress still not fully explained in that whether the oxidative
      stress is the cause of chronic pancreatitis or a consequence of it. This can be established
      by two observations: 1) If the oxidative stress is noted before the onset of disease and 2)
      If the disease symptoms are relieved by supplementation with antioxidants. Patients with
      alcoholic pancreatitis have been shown to have an increased oxidative stress. Supplementation
      with antioxidants hence decreases the production of such free radicals and may be beneficial
      to patients with CP (4).

      A study by Braganza et al has shown that CP involves oxidative stress in-patients with CP
      (5). This was the first study to indicate the role of free radicals in the pathogenesis of
      chronic pancreatitis. However, the mechanism by which it occurs is still unclear. The
      preliminary studies show that malondialdehyde (MDA); a marker of peroxidation secondary to
      oxidative stress increases during CP.

      In the present proposed study, the aim is to find out if there is increased oxidative stress
      in patients with CP and if supplementation with antioxidants relieves pain in them in order
      to establish a relationship between oxidant stress and pathophysiology of chronic


        1. To evaluate the effect of antioxidant supplementation given daily on pain relief in
           chronic pancreatitis during the 6 months of therapy as compared to a placebo.

        2. To assess the improvement in oxidative stress and antioxidant profile in these patients
           during 6 months of antioxidant supplementation by measuring markers of oxidative stress
           and blood antioxidant levels.

      Material and methods Study Design: Double blind randomized controlled trial Patients All
      consecutive patients with chronic pancreatitis attending the pancreas clinic at AIIMS will be
      included in the study as per the inclusion criteria. The diagnosis of CP will be made if
      there is evidence of CP on imaging studies including plain film of the abdomen,
      Ultrasonography, Computerized tomography (CT) scan, endoscopic retrograde
      cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Also
      hematological tests, biochemical investigations will be done as part of diagnostic work-up.

      All patients will undergo detailed clinical evaluation including detailed family history of
      pancreatic diseases and diabetes. The WHO criteria will be used to diagnose diabetes. The
      patients will also be inquired about their dietary history and addiction to tobacco or
      alcohol. Patients will be explained the purpose of study clearly and consent forms will be
      duly signed by them. The patients will be regularly followed up in pancreas clinic at All
      India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. All the patients will be treated in the
      standard manner including medical, endoscopic and surgical treatment as and when indicated.

      Inclusion criteria:

      CP with significant pain i.e. at least one episode of pain in a month requiring oral
      analgesic or one episode of severe pain in last three months requiring hospitalization.

      Sample size calculation Sample size is calculated on the basis of probability sampling
      methods. For 80% power at a significance level of 5% (a = 0.05), a sample size of 100 in each
      arm would be required.

      Randomization and blinding Randomization of treatment allocation largely ensures unbiased
      treatment comparison. A simple randomization scheme for treatment allocation will be done
      using a table of random numbers by a Statistician/ Epidemiologist not associated with conduct
      of the study. He/she will label the boxes of treatment with individual patient numbers from
      1-200 according to the randomization scheme. This person will keep the assignment code at a
      safe place; the code will be available to the investigator only at the end of the trial.
      These will be serially opened as new patients are recruited into the study. Double blinding
      will be done to ensure minimum bias i.e. blinding of researcher and clinician attending
      patients to the randomization process so that allocation and outcome evaluation are not
      affected and blinding of patients to the identity of the drug or intervention they are
      receiving. The inert placebo, which will be identical to the active drug in packaging,
      appearance and schedule of administration.

      Intervention One group will be given antioxidant supplementation and the other group will be
      placebo. The antioxidant intervention will be daily doses of 600 mg organic selenium, 0.54 g
      vitamin C, 9000 IU B-carotene, 270 IU vitamin E and 2 g methionine. Both the groups will be
      supplemented with the pancreatic enzymes. The enzyme will be administered as capsules, each
      containing 10,000 units. Three capsules (30,000) units will be required per meal thereby
      making it to 90,000 units per day.

      Follow up assessment during study period:


        -  Assessment of painful days and requirement of oral/ IV analgesic or hospitalization in a
           month will be done. The patients will be provided with a pain diary so as to get the
           correct data.

        -  Any other symptoms either due to primary disease i.e. CP or considered due to the
           intervention will be duly recorded.

             -  Pain assessment and clinical examination will be done at each visit of patient to
                the clinic while USG, ERCP, CT or X-ray will be done as and when required.

      Markers of oxidative stress

        -  MDA Marker of antioxidant capacity or defense

        -  Superoxide dismutase (SOD), Total glutathione, Ferric Reducing Assay of Plasma (FRAP)
           Markers of intervention compliance

        -  Vitamins A, E, C *All the biochemical investigations will be done at baseline, 1 and 6
           months of intervention.

      All the samples will be light protected and purged with nitrogen to retard deterioration from
      oxidation of substrates during storage.

      Statistics Descriptive statistics i.e. mean, standard deviation and frequency distribution
      will be calculated for each variable in the study. To compare the two groups, Student 't'
      test (quantitative) and chi square test (qualitative) wherever applicable will be applied. To
      see trend within the variable 2-way analysis of variance (parametric as well as
      non-parametric, whichever is applicable) will be done post-hoc analysis. P value < 0.05 will
      be considered as statistical significant. Statistic software SPSS 7.5 for Windows will be
      used for statistical analysis.

      Study Outcome Primary Outcome

      1. Reduction in the number of painful days per month due to chronic pancreatitis.

      Secondary Outcome

        1. Decrease in no. of severe attacks requiring hospitalization.

        2. Percentage of patients who are pain-free.

        3. Increase in markers of antioxidant defense in the intervention group compared to placebo
           group and decrease in oxidative stress parameters in patients after intervention
           compared to placebo.


        1. Pitchumoni CS, Mohan AT. Pancreatic stones. Gastroenterol. Clin. North Amer. 1990: 19;

        2. Walling MA. Xenobiotic metabolism, oxidant stress and chronic pancreatitis: Focus on
           glutathione. Digestion 59 (Suppl4): 13-24, 1998.

        3. Lin Y, Tamakoshi A et al. 2000. Cigarette smoke as a risk factor for chronic
           pancreatitis: A case control study in Japan. Pancreas. 21 (2), 109-114.

        4. Uden S, Schofield D, Miller PF, Day JP Bottiglier T and Braganza JM. 1992. Aliment
           Pharmacol Ther. 6, 229-240.

        5. Braganza JM. A framework for etiogenesis of chronic pancreatitis. Digestion: 1998; 59
           (suppl. 4): 1-12.

Study Phase

Phase 3

Study Type


Primary Outcome

Reduction in the number of painful days per month due to chronic pancreatitis

Secondary Outcome

 Decrease in no. of severe attacks requiring hospitalization


Chronic Pancreatitis



Study Arms / Comparison Groups

Description:  Intervention was done with antioxidants


* Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by National Clinical Trials Identifier (NCT ID) in Medline.

Recruitment Information

Recruitment Status

Dietary Supplement

Estimated Enrollment


Start Date

October 2003

Completion Date

October 2006

Eligibility Criteria

        Inclusion Criteria:

          -  CP with significant pain i.e., at least one episode of pain in a month requiring oral
             analgesic or one episode of severe pain in last three months requiring hospitalization

        Exclusion Criteria:

          -  Painless disease

          -  Current pain more likely due to non-pancreatic origin

          -  If the patient already has an intervention in the form decompressive therapy i.e.,
             surgery or endoscopic sphincterotomy/ stenting or ESWL

          -  Systemic conditions like CRF, malignancy, hypertension, and pregnancy

          -  Complications like pseudocyst, pancreatic abscess

          -  Patients who would have received antioxidants in the preceding 4 weeks

          -  Narcotic addicts

          -  Uncontrolled diabetes

          -  Comorbid conditions like liver diseases




12 Years - 70 Years

Accepts Healthy Volunteers



Payal Bhardwaj, MSc, , 

Location Countries


Location Countries


Administrative Informations



Organization ID


Study Sponsor

All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi

Study Sponsor

Payal Bhardwaj, MSc, Principal Investigator, dept. of Gastroenterology, A.I.I.M.S. , New Delhi

Verification Date

January 2009