Assessment and Protection of Esophageal Mucosal Integrity in Patients With Heartburn Without Esophagitis
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK. The American Journal of Gastroenterology
(Impact Factor: 10.76).
01/2013; 108(4). DOI: 10.1038/ajg.2012.469
Intact esophageal mucosal integrity is essential to prevent symptoms during gastroesophageal reflux events. Approximately 70% of patients with heartburn have macroscopically normal esophageal mucosa. In patients with heartburn, persistent functional impairment of esophageal mucosal barrier integrity may underlie remaining symptoms. Topical protection of a functionally vulnerable mucosa may be an attractive therapeutic strategy. We aimed to evaluate esophageal mucosal functional integrity in patients with heartburn without esophagitis, and test the feasibility of an alginate-based topical mucosal protection.
Three distal esophageal biopsies were obtained from 22 patients with heartburn symptoms, and 22 control subjects. In mini-Ussing chambers, the change in transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) of biopsies when exposed to neutral, weakly acidic, and acidic solutions was measured. The experiment was repeated in a further 10 patients after pretreatment of biopsies with sodium alginate, viscous control, or liquid control "protectant" solutions.
Biopsy exposure to neutral solution caused no change in TER. Exposure to weakly acidic and acidic solutions caused a greater reduction in TER in patients than in controls (weakly acid -7.2% (95% confidence interval (CI) -9.9 to -4.5) vs. 3.2% (-2.2 to 8.6), P<0.05; acidic -22.8% (-31.4 to 14.1) vs. -9.4% (-17.2 to -1.6), P<0.01). Topical pretreatment with alginate but not with control solutions prevented the acid-induced decrease in TER (-1% (-5.9 to 3.9) vs. -13.5 (-24.1 to -3.0) vs. -13.2 (-21.7 to -4.8), P<0.05).
Esophageal mucosa in patients with heartburn without esophagitis shows distinct vulnerability to acid and weakly acidic exposures. Experiments in vitro suggest that such vulnerable mucosa may be protected by application of an alginate-containing topical solution.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Alginates form a raft above the gastric contents, which may suppress gastro-oesophageal reflux; however, inconsistent effects have been reported in mechanistic and clinical studies.
AIMS: To visualise reflux suppression by an alginate-antacid [Gaviscon Advance (GA), Reckitt Benckiser, UK] compared with a nonraft-forming antacid using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and to determine the feasibility of pH-impedance monitoring for assessment of reflux suppression by alginates.
METHODS: Two studies were performed: (i) GA and antacid (Alucol, Wander Ltd, Switzerland) were visualised in the stomach after ingestion in 12 healthy volunteers over 30 min after a meal by MRI, with reflux events documented by manometry. (ii) A randomised controlled, double-blind cross-over trial of post-prandial reflux suppression documented by pH-impedance in 20 patients randomised to GA or antacid (Milk of Magnesia; Boots, UK) after two meals taken 24 h apart.
RESULTS: MRI visualized a "mass" of GA form at the oesophago-gastric junction (OGJ); simple antacid sank to the distal stomach. The number of post-prandial common cavity reflux events was less with GA than antacid [median 2 (0-5) vs. 5 (1-11); P < 0.035]. Distal reflux events and acid exposure measured by pH-impedance were similar after GA and antacid. There was a trend to reduced proximal reflux events with GA compared with antacid [10.5 (8.9) vs. 13.9 (8.3); P = 0.070].
CONCLUSIONS: Gaviscon Advance forms a 'mass' close to the OGJ and significantly suppresses reflux compared with a nonraft-forming antacid. Standard pH-impedance monitoring is suitable for clinical studies of GA in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease patients where proximal reflux is the primary outcome.
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ABSTRACT: In gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms arise due to reflux of gastric content into the oesophagus. However, the relation between magnitude and onset of reflux and symptom generation in GERD patients is far from simple; gastroesophageal reflux occurs several times a day in everyone and the majority of reflux episodes remains asymptomatic. This review aims to address the question how reflux causes symptoms, focussing on factors leading to enhanced reflux perception. We will highlight esophageal sensitivity variance between subtypes of GERD, which is influenced by peripheral sensitization of primary afferents, central sensitization of spinal dorsal horn neurons, impaired mucosal barrier function and genetic factors. We will also discuss the contribution of specific refluxate characteristics to reflux perception, including acidity, and the role of bile, pepsin and gas and proximal extent. Further understanding of reflux perception might improve GERD treatment, especially in current partial responders to therapy.
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ABSTRACT: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a prevalent problem resulting in a high level of healthcare consultation and expenditure in the Western World. Although standard medical therapy (in the form of proton pump inhibitor drugs) is effective in the majority of cases, there remains a significant proportion who are refractory to treatment. In addition, surgical therapy (in the form of laparoscopic fundoplication) is not always effective, and in some can be associated with significant side-effects, particularly gas-bloat, flatulence and dysphagia. As such there remains an unmet need in GERD to develop new therapies for refractory cases, and to develop alternatives to fundoplication with fewer side-effects. This article discusses the current state of pharmacological and non-pharmacological emerging therapies for GERD.
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