Background: The Th2 allergic pathway in eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE) responds to food antigen exposure. Aim: To compare the presence and temporal pattern of food antigen penetration in oesophageal mucosa in active and inactive EoE and controls. Methods: Thirty-two patients with EoE (20 active) and 10 controls were asked to eliminate all wheat and/or dairy 12, 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours before endoscopy. Immunostaining on endoscopic biopsies was performed for gliadin, casein and whey. Results: Gluten, casein and whey were detected by positive staining in 17/32 (53.1%), 21/32 (65.6%), and 30/32 (92.0%) of patients, respectively. In active vs inactive EoE, 70.0% vs 25.0% (P < 0.05), 80.0% vs 41.5%, and 90.0% vs 90.9% patients had detectable gliadin, casein and whey, respectively. Casein and whey (20.0% and 100%, respectively) but not gliadin, were present in controls. The gliadin staining density was greater in active compared to inactive disease at ≤ 24 vs >24 hours after exposure (P = 0.05) but no differences were detected when comparing active and inactive patients for casein and whey. There was greater staining density for whey than casein for all patients at ≤24 hours (mean 2.14 ± 0.91 and 1.07 ± 1.33, P = 0.02). In active EoE, IgG4 was present in 14/20 compared to one inactive patient. Conclusion: The oesophageal epithelium is selectively permeable and has relatively long dwell times for food antigens known to trigger EoE. The precise mechanism of antigen-specific mucosal entry and the factors that determine the induction or effector trigger of the Th2 pathway activation merit further study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)