Esophageal biopsy specimens of 60 children indicated that epithelial mesenchymal transition is a significant contributor to subepithelial fibrosis in those with eosinophilic esophagitis, according to study results.
Researchers conducted the study to evaluate whether epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) appears in children with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) and, if so, whether treating the EoE would eliminate EMT.
The study was divided into four groups: those with EoE (n=17), indeterminate EoE (n=15), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (n=7), and normal esophagus (n=21). Each participant’s specimen was stained for cytokeratin and vimentin, the epithelial and mesenchymal biomarkers, respectively, in EMT. Researchers then measured the amount of EMT in each sample, and evaluated it for eosinophil counts and for indices of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) immunostaining, eosinophil peroxidase, and subepithelial fibrosis.
EMT was associated with EoE and indeterminate EoE, researchers said, but it was not found in the specimens of patients with GERD and normal esophagus.
EMT correlated with TGF-beta immunostaining and fibrosis indices (r=0.520 and r=0.644, respectively). It also correlated with eosinophil peroxidase and eosinophil counts (r=0.738 and r=0.691, respectively).
The researchers wrote that EMT decreased by 74.1% in treated EoE participants. EMT in the esophagus of participants with EoE was found to link to the activation of eosinophils in the esophagus; EMT also was linked to the amount of subepithelial fibrosis.
Researchers concluded that esophageal EMT “resolves with EoE treatments that significantly decrease the esophageal burden of eosinophils.”
Disclosure: See the study for a full list of relevant disclosures.