RNA-sequencing reveals molecular and regional differences in the esophageal mucosa of achalasia patients

Caroline K. Patel, Peter J. Kahrilas, Nathan B. Hodge, Lia E. Tsikretsis, Dustin A. Carlson, John E. Pandolfino, Marie Pier Tétreault*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Achalasia is an esophageal motility disorder characterized by the functional loss of myenteric plexus ganglion cells in the distal esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter. Histological changes have been reported in the esophageal mucosa of achalasia, suggesting its involvement in disease pathogenesis. Despite recent advances in diagnosis, our understanding of achalasia pathogenesis at the molecular level is very limited and gene expression profiling has not been performed. We performed bulk RNA-sequencing on esophageal mucosa from 14 achalasia and 8 healthy subjects. 65 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were found in the distal esophageal mucosa of achalasia subjects and 120 DEGs were identified in proximal esophagus. Gene expression analysis identified genes common or exclusive to proximal and distal esophagus, highlighting regional differences in the disease. Enrichment of signaling pathways related to cytokine response and viral defense were observed. Increased infiltration of CD45+ intraepithelial leukocytes were seen in the mucosa of 38 achalasia patients compared to 12 controls. Novel insights into the molecular changes occurring in achalasia were generated in this transcriptomic study. Some gene changes observed in the mucosa of achalasia may be associated with esophagitis. Differences in DEGs between distal and proximal esophagus highlight the importance of better understanding regional differences in achalasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20616
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'RNA-sequencing reveals molecular and regional differences in the esophageal mucosa of achalasia patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this