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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2012 Dec 1;303(11):G1175-87. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00313.2012. Epub 2012 Sep 27.

Tissue remodeling in eosinophilic esophagitis.

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Departments of Pediatrics, Children’s Medical Center, USA.


Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a recently recognized, immune-mediated disease characterized clinically by symptoms of esophageal dysfunction and histologically by eosinophil-predominant inflammation. The chronic esophageal eosinophilia of EoE is associated with tissue remodeling that includes epithelial hyperplasia, subepithelial fibrosis, and hypertrophy of esophageal smooth muscle. This remodeling causes the esophageal rings and strictures that frequently complicate EoE and underlies the mucosal fragility that predisposes to painful mucosal tears in the EoE esophagus. The pathogenesis of tissue remodeling in EoE is not completely understood, but emerging studies suggest that secretory products of eosinophils and mast cells, as well as cytokines produced by other inflammatory cells, epithelial cells, and stromal cells in the esophagus, all contribute to the process. Interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13, Th2 cytokines overproduced in allergic disorders, have direct profibrotic and remodeling effects in EoE. The EoE esophagus exhibits increased expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, which is a potent activator of fibroblasts and a strong inducer of epithelial-mesenchymal transition. In addition, IL-4, IL-13, and TGF-β all have a role in regulating periostin, an extracellular matrix protein that might influence remodeling by acting as a ligand for integrins, by its effects on eosinophils or by activating fibrogenic genes in the esophagus. Presently, few treatments have been shown to affect the tissue remodeling that causes EoE complications. This report reviews the potential roles of fibroblasts, eosinophils, mast cells, and profibrotic cytokines in esophageal remodeling in EoE and identifies potential targets for future therapies that might prevent EoE complications.

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