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Keywords:

  • endoscopy;
  • esomeprazole;
  • esophageal reflux;
  • esophagitis;
  • GERD;
  • histology

SUMMARY.  The aim of this study was to evaluate the axial and radial distribution of histological markers including hyperplasia of the basal cell layer, elongation of the papillae and dilatation of the intercellular spaces of the squamous epithelium in patients with nonerosive reflux disease compared to controls and to relate this to the macroscopic topography in erosive reflux disease. Two different study populations were included in this report. Endoscopic esophageal biopsies were taken from 21 healthy control subjects and 21 nonerosive reflux disease patients before and after 4 weeks of esomeprazole therapy. Endoscopic still images from 50 erosive reflux disease patients were reviewed for the radial orientation of LA grade A and/or B esophagitis (Los Angeles criteria for grading of reflux esophagitis). The 3 o’clock position of the squamocolumnar junction showed significantly thicker basal cell layer (P = 0.011) and more intercellular space dilatation (P = 0.01) in nonerosive reflux disease patients compared to the 9 o’clock position. Only a significant difference in dilatation of the intercellular spaces (P = 0.018) between nonerosive reflux disease patients and controls were observed in the 3 o’clock region at the squamocolumnar junction, whereas 1–2 cm orally, all three histological criteria differed significantly (P ≤ 0.01). After treatment, on the contrary, papillary length was significantly less pronounced at the squamocolumnar junction (P < 0.01). Endoscopically, erosions were predominantly visualized in the 3 o’clock region (P < 0.05). Histological mucosal changes in nonerosive reflux disease patients and visible mucosal erosions in erosive reflux disease patients occur most frequently at the same position, namely in the 3 o’clock quadrant in the distal esophagus. The histological difference between nonerosive reflux disease patients and controls are more distinct 1–2 cm oral to rather than at the squamocolumnar junction. However the effect of therapy is most pronounced at the squamocolumnar junction.