Article Abstract

Longitudinal study of esophageal mucosal damage after esophagectomy and gastric interposition: relationship between reflux-related mucosal injury and Notch signaling

Authors: Yong Yuan, Tie-Jun Tong, Xiao-Xi Zeng, Yu-Shang Yang, Zhi-Qiang Wang, Yun-Cang Wang, Jun- He Gou, Long-Qi Chen


Background: Esophagectomy with gastric interposition could serve as a good human reflux model to study the molecular pathogenesis of esophageal mucosal damage induced by gastroesophageal reflux. This study was to investigate the role of Notch signaling in reflux injury of esophageal mucosa.
Methods: Patients undergoing Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy for early stage esophageal squamous cell carcinoma were included. Follow-ups were scheduled at 6, 18, 36 and 48 months postoperatively, including reflux symptom assessment, endoscopic and histological evaluation of esophageal mucosal damage. The expressions of Notch1 and its downstream target gene Hes1 were evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and immunohistochemistry (IHC).
Results: Forty-four out of 48 patients completed four follow-ups. Injuries of esophageal remnant confirmed by endoscopical and histological examinations were both more often with a longer postoperative period (P<0.05). The mRNA expression levels of Notch1 and Hes1 were decreased in a time-dependent manner after operation (P<0.001). Notch1 and Hes1 mRNA levels were significantly higher in normal squamous mucosa than in esophagitis, and higher in esophagitis than in metaplasia (P<0.05). Immunohistochemical study also demonstrated a similar protein expression pattern. Samples with endoscopic evidence of mucosal damage exhibited lower expression of Notch1 mRNA levels as compared to biopsies without visualized damage (P=0.035).
Conclusions: This is the first longitudinal study on Notch signaling in human esophagectomy model, our preliminary findings suggest decreased Notch signaling might be involved in the development of mucosa damage caused by gastroesophageal reflux.