Research reported online in July Nature Genetics identifies a new genetic and molecular pathway in the esophagus that causes eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).
EoE is triggered by allergic hypersensitivity to certain foods and an accumulation of eosinophils in the esophagus. It causes difficulty swallowing, tissue scarring, fibrosis and strictures.
A molecular pathway specific to epithelia tissue in the esophagus that involves a gene called calpain14 (CAPN14) has been identified. It becomes upregulated in the disease process leading to IL-13. This new gene finding opens up new therapeutic possibilities.
EoE usually responds to corticosteroid therapy. However, some trial participants did not respond to fluticasone providing evidence of EoE steroid resistance. Analyzing gene expression in esophageal tissues may help predict steroid responsiveness.