Gastrointestinal (GI) strictures are difficult to treat in a variety of disease processes. Currently, there are no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs for fibrosis in the GI tract. One of the limitations to developing anti-fibrotic drugs has been the lack of a reproducible, relatively inexpensive, large animal model of fibrosis-driven luminal stricture. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of creating a model of luminal GI tract strictures. Argon plasma coagulation (APC) was applied circumferentially in porcine esophagi in vivo. Follow-up endoscopy (EGD) was performed at day 14 after the APC procedure. We noted high grade, benign esophageal strictures (n = 8). All 8 strictures resembled luminal GI fibrotic strictures in humans. These strictures were characterized, and then successfully dilated. A repeat EGD was performed at day 28 after the APC procedure and found evidence of recurrent, high grade, fibrotic, strictures at all 8 locations in all pigs. Pigs were sacrificed and gross and histologic analyses performed. Histologic examination showed extensive fibrosis, with significant collagen deposition in the lamina propria and submucosa, as well as extensive inflammatory infiltrates within the strictures. In conclusion, we report a porcine model of luminal GI fibrotic stricture that has the potential to assist with developing novel anti-fibrotic therapies as well as endoscopic techniques to address recurring fibrotic strictures in humans.
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