The literature indicates that acute pancreatitis is a complication of massive hemolysis with a prevalence of about 20%. We describe an experimental model of hemolysis-induced acute pancreatitis. Hemolytic anemia was induced in rats by a single ip injection of 60 mg/kg of 20 mg/ml acetylphenylhydrazine (APH) in 20% (v/v) ethanol on the first experimental day (day 0). One hundred and fifty Wistar albino rats weighing 180-200 g were divided into three groups of 50 animals each: groups 1, 2 and 3 were injected ip with APH, 20% ethanol, and physiological saline, respectively. Ten rats from each group were sacrificed on study days 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Serum amylase, lipase levels and pancreatic tissue tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and platelet-activating factor (PAF) contents were determined and a histological examination of the pancreas was performed. No hemolysis or pancreatitis was observed in any of the rats in groups 2 and 3. In group 1, massive hemolysis was observed in 35 (70%) of 50 rats, moderate hemolysis in seven (14%), and no hemolysis in eight (16%). Thirty-three of 35 (94.2%) rats with massive hemolysis had hyperamylasemia, and 29 of these rats (82.8%) had histologically proven pancreatitis. The most severe pancreatitis occurred on day 3, as demonstrated by histology. Tissue TNF-alpha and PAF levels were statistically higher in group 1 than in groups 2 and 3. Acute massive hemolysis induced acute pancreatitis, as indicated by histology, in almost 80% of cases. Hemolysis may induce acute pancreatitis by triggering the release of proinflammatory and immunoregulatory cytokines.