Cytokines' secretion may cause GERD acid reflux — 3 points

A Journal of the American Medical Association study suggests a patient with gastroesophageal reflux disease's damange actually occurs through an inflammatory response, which cytokines' secretion prompts. The study's findings challenge previous notions the damage is due to stomach acid backing up through the esophagus, as News-Medical reported.

Stuart Spechler, MD, professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas and chief of gastroenterology at Dallas VA Medical Center, was senior author of the study. Dr. Spechler and colleagues examined patients at the Dallas VA Medical Center who had reflux esophagitis that PPIs successfully treated. The researchers stopped treating patients with PPIs to analyze the effect.

Here are three points:

1. In 11 of 12 patients with reflux esophagitis, changes to the esophagus reoccurred after the researchers stopped the PPIs.

2. The changes that reoccurred were not consistent with the chemical burns associated with the stomach acid backing up through the esophagus.

3. The researchers' findings support the new idea that refluxed stomach acid stimulates the esophagus to make cytokines, which then sets up the inflammation process.

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