Organophosphate poisoning is a common cause of severe morbidity and mortality in emergency departments. Acute pancreatitis is a frequently reported consequence of organophosphate poisoning, but preventing this potentially severe complication has not been the subject of much research. We tested whether interleukin-10, a cytoprotective agent, could prevent or diminish pathological signs of acute pancreatitis caused by organophosphate poisoning. Thirty rats were divided into three equal groups. Group 1 did not receive any agent during the experiment. Group 2 received 0.8 g/kg fenthion intraperitoneally, followed by 6 ml/kg intraperitoneal normal saline 30 min and 3 h later. Group 3 received 0.8 g/kg fenthion intraperitoneally, followed by 2 mu g/kg of interleukin-10 intraperitoneally 30 min and 3 h later. All rats underwent laparotomy and thoracotomy while still under anesthesia at 6 h, and tissue samples were obtained from the pancreas. After blood samples were taken by cardiac puncture, the animals were sacrificed. Organophosphate poisoning resulted in significant elevations of serum amylase and glucose. Interleukin-10 significantly reduced pancreatic damage as determined by pathologic scoring, but not by enzyme elevations. Interleukin-10 should be considered for larger studies in other animal models to confirm its ability to decrease pancreatic damage after organophosphate poisoning treatment with interleukin-10. (C) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.