Proton Pump Inhibitors Partially Restore Mucosal Integrity in Patients With Proton Pump Inhibitor–Responsive Esophageal Eosinophilia but Not Eosinophilic Esophagitis

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Background & AimsHistologic analysis is used to distinguish patients with proton pump inhibitor–responsive eosinophilia (PPI-REE) from those with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). It is not clear whether these entities have different etiologies. Exposure to acid reflux can impair the integrity of the esophageal mucosal. We proposed that patients with EoE and PPI-REE might have reflux-induced esophageal mucosal damage that promotes transepithelial flux of allergens. We therefore assessed the integrity of the esophageal mucosal in these patients at baseline and after PPI.MethodsWe performed a prospective study of 16 patients with suspected EoE and 11 controls. Patients had dysphagia, endoscopic signs of EoE, and esophageal eosinophilia (>15 eosinophils/high-power field [eos/hpf]). All subjects underwent endoscopy at baseline; endoscopy was performed again on patients after 8 weeks of treatment with high-dose esomeprazole. After PPI treatment, patients were diagnosed with EoE (>10 eos/hpf; n = 8) or PPI-REE (≤10 eos/hpf; n = 8). We evaluated the structure (intercellular spaces) and function (electrical tissue impedance, transepithelial electrical resistance, transepithelial molecule flux) of the esophageal mucosal barrier.ResultsCompared with controls, electrical tissue impedance and transepithelial electrical resistance were reduced in patients with EoE (P < .001 and P < .001, respectively) and PPI-REE (P = .01 and P = .06, respectively), enabling transepithelial small-molecule flux. PPI therapy partially restored these changes in integrity and inflammation in patients with PPI-REE, but not in those with EoE.ConclusionsThe integrity of the esophageal mucosa is impaired in patients with EoE and PPI-REE, allowing transepithelial transport of small molecules. PPI therapy partially restores mucosal integrity in patients with PPI-REE, but not in those with EoE. Acid reflux might contribute to transepithelial allergen flux in patients with PPI-REE. number: NTR3480.[]

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