GERD doesn't just involve the surface of the stomach. Thanks in part to PBMC supplied by HemaCare, researchers literally looked deeper.
Do you have that burning sensation in the chest? If it isn’t love, it could very well be gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). You are hardly alone. In the Western world, for instance, no less than 10-20% of the population suffers from GERD. This malady is the most common form of heartburn; other symptoms can include nausea, pain, and coughing. In some cases, GERD may lead to an abnormal change called Barrett’s esophagus, which in turn may lead to cancer.
Treating GERD will benefit from a more thorough knowledge about the disorder, so researchers across the globe are seeking to more fully understand its pathophysiology. It makes sense that the epithelial cells, those lining the stomach, play a role in GERD, but what about the supportive stromal cell population? Researchers at the University of Southern California and Washington University demonstrated through cell-based experiments that the esophageal stromal cells contain a few cells called myofibroblasts that increase in number when GERD arises. These myofibroblasts increase expression of IL-6, a cytokine associated with GERD pathogenesis, and the chemokine IL-8, when exposed to acid and other representations of GERD injury.
Interestingly, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were useful in identifying the myofibroblasts. How might a blood product assist in a study of gastrointestinal pathology? The cell surface markers CD31 and CD45 are present on epithelial cells -- and PBMC -- but not esophageal stromal cells. The researchers demonstrated that the myofibroblasts they recognized were negative for CD31 and CD45. PBMC served as a positive control, demonstrating that CD31 and CD45 were indeed detectable when they are present.
HemaCare is proud to have supplied the PBMC that helped illuminate these findings. We are available to offer highly purified PBMC for your research needs, as well.
1. Gargus M, et al. Human esophageal myofibroblasts secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to acid and toll-like receptor-4 ligands. Am J Physiol. 2015 Apr;DOI:10.1152/ajpgi.00333.2014