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Reflux esophagitis due to immune reaction, not acute acid burn
Date:11/19/2009

own that if an animal esophagus is perfused with highly concentrated acid, esophageal damage develops quickly. In humans, however, the large majority of reflux episodes do not contain such highly concentrated acid, Dr. Souza said.

"In animal models of reflux esophagitis designed to mimic the human disease, researchers hadn't looked at the early events in the development of esophageal injury," Dr. Souza noted. "Most of those investigators have been interested in the long-term consequences of GERD, and we found virtually no published data about what happens later that induces gastroesophageal reflux."

Dr. Souza, who is also a staff physician at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center and part of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern, and Dr. Spechler, chief of gastroenterology at the Dallas VA, said the method they used to produce GERD in rats is a reasonable representation of how GERD develops in humans acidic digestive juices from the stomach surge into the esophagus.

Soon after the operation, they expected to see the death of surface cells of the esophagus, and they expected to see the injury progress later to the deeper layers. Instead, they found the opposite. Three days after the surgery, there was no damage to surface cells, but the researchers did find inflammatory cells in the deeper layers of the esophagus. Those inflammatory cells didn't rise to the surface layer until three weeks after the initial acid exposure.

The next step for researchers is to conduct additional studies in humans.


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Contact: LaKisha Ladson
lakisha.ladson@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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