This article focuses on recent findings on the molecular mechanisms involved in esophageal columnar metaplasia. Signaling pathways and their downstream targets activate specific transcription factors leading to the expression of columnar and the more specific intestinal-type of genes, which gives rise to Barrett metaplasia. Several animal models have been generated to validate and study these distinct molecular pathways but also to identify the Barrett progenitor cell. Currently, the many aspects involved in the development of esophageal metaplasia that have been elucidated can serve to develop novel molecular therapies to improve treatment or prevent metaplasia. Nevertheless, several key events are still poorly understood and require further investigation.
- Lineage tracing
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