Navigation Links
Investigators uncover intriguing clues to why persistent acid reflux sometimes turns into cancer
Date:8/13/2007

DALLAS Aug. 10, 2007 New research from scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center and the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center underscores the importance of preventing recurring acid reflux while also uncovering tantalizing clues on how typical acid reflux can turn potentially cancerous.

In research published in July and August, scientists discovered that people with acid reflux disease, particularly those with a complication of acid reflux called Barretts esophagus, have altered cells in their esophagus containing shortened telomeres, the ending sequences in DNA strands. Combined with related research to be published this month, the findings indicate that the shortened sequences might allow other cells more prone to cancer to take over.

The research supports why it is important to prevent reflux, because the more reflux you have and the longer you have it, the more it might predispose you to getting Barretts esophagus. So you want to suppress that reflux, said Dr. Rhonda Souza, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the paper which appears in the July issue of the American Journal of Physiology Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology.

Heartburn occurs when acid splashes back up from the stomach into the esophagus, the long feeding tube that connects the stomach and throat, causing a burning sensation.

Over time, the persistent acid bath can cause normal skin-like cells in the esophagus to change into tougher, more acid-resistant cells of the type found in the stomach and intestine, a condition called Barretts esophagus, explained Dr. Stuart Spechler, professor of internal medicine and senior author of the paper. Unfortunately, those acid-resistant cells are also more prone to cancer, Dr. Spechler said.

Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, the cancer that is especially associated with Barretts esophagus, is currently the most rapidly rising cancer in the U.S., with a sixfold increase in cases during the past 30 years, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Understanding how and why the cells change in some cases and not others has been a major challenge for investigators.

Researchers compared telomere length and telomerase activity in biopsy specimens from 38 patients with GERD and 16 control patients. This new line of research suggests that the continuous acid bath affecting esophageal cells causes them to divide more frequently in order to regenerate the damaged lining. However, each time the cells divide, the telomeres at the end of DNA become shorter. When they become too short, the aging cell can no longer divide, Dr. Souza said.

Scientists suspect that when cells can no longer divide, other cells might infiltrate the area to make up for the loss. And those cells may be more likely to generate the acid-resistance that makes them more likely to turn cancerous.

If the telomeres get short enough, maybe the cells cant regenerate any more and maybe thats why you start to see this change, said Dr. Spechler. Perhaps the esophagus cant regenerate the normal skin-like squamous cells, and instead, it has to recruit cells from somewhere else and thats why you start getting these changes to intestinal-like cells.

Other studies by this group of UT Southwestern digestive disease specialists suggest the alternate cells that eventually take over might be bone-marrow cells.

There could be cells circulating from the bone marrow that wouldnt ordinarily end up in the esophagus. But if you shorten the telomeres enough and the esophagus cant regenerate anymore, perhaps these bone-marrow cells might have to replace that tissue, and bone-marrow cells can turn into intestinal tissue, Dr. Spechler said. This hasnt been proven, but we have some data that supports that.

In research available online prior to printing this month in Diseases of the Esophagus, Drs. Souza, Spechler and colleagues demonstrate that bone-marrow cells come into play to regenerate the esophageal lining in rats that have heavy reflux.

So the first paper shows that the telomeres are short, suggesting that the normal squamous cells might not be able to divide anymore, so they die out, Dr. Spechler said. The second paper suggests that the bone-marrow cells may then come and take their place, giving rise to the intestinal cells instead of the normal, skin-like cells.

Further research will be needed to confirm that hypothesis, Dr. Souza said.

Its an interesting series of experiments, she said. None of them absolutely prove that this is whats going on, but its an interesting concept, and it certainly supports the theory that your normal cells poop out and eventually they cant replace the damaged ones, and maybe thats why you get Barretts esophagus.

If confirmed, the research might also help scientists find a way to prevent the bone-marrow cells from invading or to identify markers that would allow an earlier diagnosis for Barretts esophagus, which doesnt usually have symptoms.


'/>"/>

Contact: Russell Rian
russell.rian@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Investigators Find Poisonous Chemicals In Four More Drugs In China
2. Wrestler Chris Benoits Son was Sedated - Says Investigators
3. Mystery behind Preeclampsia uncovered
4. Uncovering a gene for oesophagal cancer
5. Syphilis uncovered
6. A Simple Exercise Can Uncover Undiagnosed Asthma
7. Mystery of nacrolepsy uncovered
8. Hospitals Health Insurance Scam Uncovered
9. Grapefruit juice could be taken along with medication: the nutrient-drug reaction uncovered!
10. New Diagnostic Tool Uncovered Gene Expression Patterns in Recessive Genetic Disorders
11. Scientists Uncover The Secret Behind The Speed In Nerve cells Conduction
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... American Spine in Frederick, Maryland is ... surgeries in the Montgomery County, Howard County and Washington, D.C. areas, renowned spine ... American Spine every Monday. He will also perform surgeries in our Germantown surgical ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... To better understand the impact of lung ... examine gender differences in lung cancer. Today, the Lung Association announced Sharad Goyal, MD ... Women Award, funded by the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative, which raises awareness ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... is pleased to welcome new Partner Firm Austin & Co., Inc. Headquartered ... to insurance, employee benefits, HR consulting, benefits technology, and beyond. As an ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... New Brunswick, New Jersey: This year marks Children’s Specialized Hospital ... To commemorate the anniversary, the hospital has themed the milestone “Hats Off” and kicked ... Hospital Foundation on Saturday, May 21, at Johnson Park in Piscataway, New Jersey. ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... disease or injury that focuses on repairing the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems of ... emphasis on functional restoration, NYDNRehab began providing treatments for physical therapy in New ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... , May 23, 2016 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... Fellowship and Internship programs. The hands-on learning experience is ... The full-time, paid Fellowship and Internship ... . Fellows and interns are provided optional housing ... Flint at the Riverfront Residence Hall to ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... The World Health Organization (WHO) expanded the Intended ... adolescents aged 13 years, and above. Effective immediately, the PrePex ... and adolescent males in the 14 priority countries in Southern ... first male circumcision device to receive WHO Prequalification on 31 ... said: " The expanded use of PrePex ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... FRANCISCO , May 23, 2016 ... to reach USD 5.0 billion by 2022, according to ... increasing generation of medical waste coupled with the lack ... industry is expected to drive the demand for reprocessed ... these devices as compared to that of the original ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: