Digestive diseases and sciences

Cleavage of E-Cadherin Contributes to Defective Barrier Function in Neosquamous Epithelium.

PMID 27659669


After ablation of Barrett's esophagus (BE), the esophagus heals with neosquamous epithelium (NSE). Despite normal endoscopic appearance, NSE exhibits defective barrier function with similarities to defects noted in the distal esophageal epithelium in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). To determine whether patients with NSE, unlike patients with healthy esophageal epithelium, have C-terminal fragments (CTFs) of e-cad detectable on tissue biopsy. Secondly, to determine whether patients with NSE have elevated levels of N-terminal fragments (NTFs) of e-cad in the serum. Fifteen patients with ablated long-segment BE, who had healing with formation of NSE, were enrolled in this pilot study. Western blots for CTFs and NTFs were performed on biopsies of NSE. Venous blood was obtained to assess levels of NTFs. Endoscopic distal esophageal biopsies from patients without esophageal disease served as tissue controls. Control blood samples were obtained from healthy subjects. Blots of NSE were successful in 14/15 patients, and all 14 (100xa0%) had a 35-kD CTF of e-cad, while CTFs were absent in healthy control tissues. Despite CTFs in NSE, serum NTFs of e-cad in NSE were similar to controls, pxa0>xa00.05. However, unlike healthy controls, blots of NSE also showed NTFs with molecular weights of 70-90xa0kD. Cleavage of e-cad, as evidenced by the presence of CTFs and NTFs on biopsy, contributes to defective barrier function in NSE. However, unlike findings reported in GERD patients, serum NTFs are not elevated in NSE patients. This difference may reflect poor absorption with tissue entrapment of NTFs in previously ablated areas with poorly perfused NSE.