Clinical, Pathologic, and Molecular Characterization of Familial Eosinophilic Esophagitis Compared With Sporadic Cases

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Abstract

Background & Aims:

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) occurs in families.

Methods:

Record review confirmed patient kinship and provided clinical information. Slide review confirmed the diagnosis (threshold peak number ≥24 eosinophils/high-power field).

Results:

Fifty-nine members (41 males, 18 females) of 26 families were 3 months to 47 years of age (mean age, 10.3 y) at diagnosis. The only recorded race was Caucasian. In 4 families a parent of an affected male had EE. The most common complaint at diagnosis was dysphagia (68% of patients). Endoscopy showed esophageal mucosal furrows (93% of patients) and exudates (44%). Fifty-one percent had asthma. Skin prick tests to food and aeroallergens were positive in 76% and 71%, respectively. Familial EE characteristics (clinical, endoscopic, pathologic, and global esophageal transcript expression profile analysis) were similar to sporadic EE, except among patients with mucosal furrows: familial patients had lower peak eosinophil counts in the distal esophagus (P = .03) compared with sporadic patients. The basic characteristics of EE (eg, eosinophil levels, rate of atopy) did not vary with patient age. By using genome-wide microarray analysis, no significant differences (P < .05, false-discovery rate) were observed between familial and sporadic EE. Among all patients, chest pain was more common in females (P = .02), and thickened mucosa was more common in males (P = .006).

Conclusions:

These data support a familial pattern of inheritance of EE and a pathogenesis shared with sporadic EE. EE should be considered in symptomatic family members of patients who have EE.

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