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Transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) and related peptides have been implicated in a wide range of biological activities, including cell growth, differentiation and acid inhibition. This chapter reviews the roles of TGF-alpha in the stomach, the insights gained into the action of the TGF-alpha family of growth factors from the study of polarized epithelial cells and the confirmation of events mediated by the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) by the study of mice in which the EGFR has been disrupted by homologous recombination.
BACKGROUND - Helicobacter pylori strains that possess the cytotoxin-associated gene (cagA) are highly associated with peptic ulcer disease, but the role of cagA in pathogenesis is unknown.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN - To test the hypothesis that cagA+ stains elicit a greater proinflammatory cytokine response in the gastric mucosa than cagA- strains, gastric biopsies were obtained from 52 patients and studied by histology, culture, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS - Of 52 patients, 32 (62%) were infected with H. pylori based upon both serology and histology or culture, 16 (31%) were negative by serology, histology, and culture, and four (7%) were positive by serology only. Of 15 H. pylori-infected patients with peptic ulceration, 14 (92%) were infected with cagA+ strains compared with 8 (50%) of 16 patients with gastritis alone, and those infected with cagA+ strains had significantly higher grades of inflammation in the gastric mucosa. Antral inflammation score was significantly associated with IL-8 production. Antral biopsies from infected patients, compared with uninfected patients, significantly more often demonstrated IL-1 beta, IL-2, and IL-8 expression, and those infected with cagA+ compared with cagA- strains significantly more often expressed IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta and showed elevated antral IL-8 protein levels. Similarly, patients with ulcer disease significantly more often expressed antral IL-1 alpha and IL-8 than those without ulceration.
CONCLUSION - These results indicate that infection with cagA+ H. pylori strains is associated with higher grades of gastric inflammation, correlating with enhanced mucosal levels of IL-8, and increased risk of peptic ulceration.
PURPOSE - The curative resection rate in patients with potentially resectable carcinoma of the esophagus is approximately 55% and their median survival time is 11 months. Preoperative chemotherapy with high doses of chemotherapeutic agents was used to evaluate clinical and pathologic responses, curative resection rate, toxicity, and survival. Colony-stimulating factor (CSF) was added to reduce the severity of myelosuppression.
PATIENTS AND METHODS - Twenty-six consecutive assessable patients with potentially resectable adenocarcinoma of the esophagus or gastroesophageal junction were treated with two preoperative courses of intensive chemotherapy (etoposide, doxorubicin, and cisplatin [EAP]) with granulocyte-macrophage CSF (GM-CSF). Additional three conventional-dose postoperative chemotherapy courses without GM-CSF were given to patients who responded to preoperative chemotherapy.
RESULTS - A median of three courses (range, one to six), were administered. Of 27 patients, 26 were assessable for response to preoperative EAP; 13 (50%) achieved a major response. Among 23 patients who underwent surgery, 15 (65%) had a curative resection (58% of 26 assessable patients); none of the patients had a pathologic complete response, but two patients had only microscopic carcinoma in the resected specimen. Six patients had carcinoma present at the resection margins and received postoperative radiotherapy. Two patients were found to have liver metastases at exploration. At a median follow-up of 22 months, the median survival of 26 patients was 12.5 months (range, 2 to 32 +). Fourteen patients died of their carcinoma; two patients died of treatment-related causes; one died of an unrelated CNS arterial malformation; and the causes of death in two patients remain unknown. Seven patients are alive with no evidence of relapse. Major toxicities of this regimen included severe myelosuppression, nausea and vomiting, infections, and severe constitutional symptoms related to GM-CSF. However, subcutaneous injection of GM-CSF was well tolerated.
CONCLUSION - High-dose EAP is active against locoregional adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and gastroesophageal junction but can be associated with significant toxicity. Although this strategy remains attractive and needs to be developed further, less toxic and more effective regimens need to be identified.
Gastric mucosal tonometry was used to determine the adequacy of gastrointestinal perfusion in 10 patients undergoing elective myocardial revascularization. Patients were prospectively randomized to receive either pulsatile or nonpulsatile flow during cardiopulmonary bypass. All patients showed a reduction in gastric mucosal perfusion during bypass, manifested by a reduction in the gastric mucosal pH, which occurred independently of variations in the arterial pH. In the group of patients receiving nonpulsatile flow, this reduction was significantly greater (p < 0.05). Cardiopulmonary bypass using nonpulsatile flow is associated with the development of a gastric mucosal acidosis, which may have implications for the development of postoperative complications.
The physiological effects of PGE2 appear to be mediated by at least three different "E-prostanoid" receptors designated EP1,EP2, and EP3. These receptors are differentially activated by structural PGE analogs (such as misoprostol) and each couples to a different signal transduction mechanism. Studies demonstrating that inhibition of water absorption in the collecting duct is mediated by a Gi coupled mechanism, suggests that an EP3 receptor is involved the renal effects of PGE2. We used in situ hybridization to determine the tissue distribution of the rabbit EP3 receptor. [alpha-35S] UTP labeled antisense RNA, comprising transmembrane domains IV through VII, was hybridized to tissue sections. Specific labeling of kidney, stomach and adrenal was observed. In the kidney, medullary thick ascending limb and cortical and medullary collecting ducts were intensely labeled, while no labeling of glomeruli, proximal tubules, or cortical thick ascending limbs was observed. The adrenal gland labeled exclusively in the medulla. In the stomach the gastric epithelial crypts were the predominant site of hybridization, without evidence of labeling of the smooth muscle. These results suggest an important role for the EP3 receptor in mediating PGE2 effects in these tissues.
Endothelin 2 (ET2), also referred to as vasoactive intestinal contractor peptide, is a member of a family of vasoactive peptides. ET2 is a potent constrictor of intestinal smooth muscle, and the mRNA that encodes it has been detected in murine intestinal extracts. To further investigate the potential physiological roles of ET2, we characterized the cellular distribution of ET2 gene expression in adult rat gastrointestinal tract. Using an RNAse protection assay, an overall proximal to distal gradient of increasing ET2 gene expression was observed from stomach to colon. In situ hybridization studies confirmed this finding and demonstrated ET2 mRNA localized in lamina propria stromal cells. Moreover, ET2 gene expression in stromal cells increased from crypt to villous tip. The results demonstrate that ET2 is produced by stromal cells in villi throughout the intestine. Increased ET2 gene expression at the villous tip is associated with more mature overlying epithelial cells, suggesting a possible role for this vasoactive peptide in intestinal epithelial differentiation or secretory activity.
Mucosal and systemic immunologic recognition of cagA by Helicobacter pylori-infected individuals is associated with peptic ulcer disease; however, in the laboratory, expression of cagA is subject to artificial conditions which may not accurately reflect the conditions in host tissues. Gastric antral and body biopsy specimens and serum for anti-H. pylori immunoglobulin G serology were obtained from 42 patients. Biopsy specimens were studied by histology, culture, and reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR). Oligonucleotide primers specific for H. pylori (16S rRNA, ureA, and cagA) were used to detect bacterial mRNA in gastric biopsy specimens. PCR was performed on DNA from corresponding H. pylori isolates to detect genomic 16S rRNA, ureA, and cagA. Of the 42 patients from whom clinical specimens were obtained, 25 were infected with H. pylori on the basis of both serology and histology or culture (i.e., tissue positive); 13 were negative by serology, histology, and culture; and 4 were positive by serology only. RT-PCR with 16S rRNA primers detected 24 of 25 tissue-positive and 0 of 17 tissue-negative patients (P < 0.001). RT-PCR with ureA primers detected 16 of 25 tissue-positive and 0 of 17 tissue-negative patients (P < 0.001). CagA mRNA was detected by RT-PCR in 14 of 25 gastric biopsy specimens in the tissue-positive group and in 0 of 17 gastric biopsy specimens in the tissue-negative group. PCR of genomic DNA for the presence of the cagA gene in the corresponding bacterial isolates correlated absolutely with cagA gene expression in gastric tissue. These results indicate that RT-PCR is a sensitive and specific method for the detection of the presence of H. pylori and the expression of H. pylori genes in human gastric tissue. Detection of H. pylori gene expression in vivo by this approach may contribute to improving the diagnosis and understanding the pathogenesis of H. pylori infections.
The pathogenic role of Helicobacter pylori virulence factors has been studied with a mouse model of gastric disease. BALB/c mice were treated orally with different amounts of sonic extracts of cytotoxic H. pylori strains (NCTC 11637, 60190, 84-183, and 87A300 [CagA+/Tox+]). The pathological effects on histological sections of gastric mucosae were assessed and were compared with the effects of treatments with extracts from noncytotoxic strains (G21 and G50 [CagA-/Tox-]) and from strains that express either CagA alone (D931 [CagA+/Tox-]) or the cytotoxin alone (G104 [CagA-/Tox+]). The treatment with extracts from cytotoxic strains induced various epithelial lesions (vacuolation, erosions, and ulcerations), recruitment of inflammatory cells in the lamina propria, and a marked reduction of the mucin layer. Extracts of noncytotoxic strains induced mucin depletion but no other significant pathology. Crude extracts of strain D931, expressing CagA alone, caused only mild infiltration of inflammatory cells, whereas extracts of strain G104, expressing cytotoxin alone, induced extensive epithelial damage but little inflammatory reaction. Loss of the mucin layer was not associated with a cytotoxic phenotype, since this loss was observed in mice treated with crude extracts of all strains. The pathogenic roles of CagA, cytotoxin, and urease were further assessed by using extracts of mutant strains of H. pylori defective in the expression of each of these virulence factors. The results obtained suggest that (i) urease activity does not play a significant role in inducing the observed gastric damage, (ii) cytotoxin has an important role in the induction of gastric epithelial cell lesions but not in eliciting inflammation, and (iii) other components present in strains which carry the cagA gene, but distinct from CagA itself, are involved in eliciting the inflammatory response.
In 82 patients who underwent gastroduodenoscopy, acute and chronic gastric mucosal inflammation was scored for severity, and systemic humoral immune responses to Helicobacter pylori antigens were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. On the basis of culture, gastric histology, and serologic evaluation, 33 patients were classified as H. pylori infected and 36 were classified as uninfected. Thirteen patients had negative cultures and stains but were seropositive and were analyzed separately from the other two groups. Specific serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclass responses to H. pylori whole-cell antigens and specific IgG responses to the 54-kDa heat shock protein homolog (Hp54K) and vacuolating cytotoxin were significantly greater in infected than in uninfected patients as were specific IgA responses to whole-cell antigens and cytotoxin (P < 0.001). Among the H. pylori-infected persons, serum IgG responses to Hp54K and to the vacuolating cytotoxin were correlated with acute mucosal inflammatory scores. In contrast, serum IgA responses to whole-cell sonicate and to vacuolating cytotoxin were inversely related to chronic inflammatory scores. By multivariant regression analysis, only specific serum IgG responses to Hp54K correlated with severity of inflammation (both acute and chronic; P < 0.001); these responses may be markers of inflammation or these antibodies could play a direct role in the pathogenesis of H. pylori-induced inflammation.