Simulation studies of the role of esophageal mucosa in bolus transport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Based on a fully coupled computational model for esophageal transport, we analyzed the role of the mucosa (including the submucosa) in esophageal bolus transport and how bolus transport is affected by mucosal stiffness. Two groups of studies were conducted using a computational model. In the first group, a base case that represents normal esophageal transport and two hypothetical cases were simulated: (1) esophageal mucosa replaced by muscle and (2) esophagus without mucosa. For the base case, the geometric configuration of the esophageal wall was examined and the mechanical role of mucosa was analyzed. For the hypothetical cases, the pressure field and transport features were examined. In the second group of studies, cases with mucosa of varying stiffness were simulated. Overall transport characteristics were examined, and both pressure and geometry were analyzed. Results show that a compliant mucosa helped accommodate the incoming bolus and lubricate the moving bolus. Bolus transport was marginally achieved without mucosa or with mucosa replaced by muscle. A stiff mucosa greatly impaired bolus transport due to the lowered esophageal distensibility and increased luminal pressure. We conclude that mucosa is essential for normal esophageal transport function. Mechanically stiffened mucosa reduces the distensibility of the esophagus by obstructing luminal opening and bolus transport. Mucosal stiffening may be relevant in diseases characterized by reduced esophageal distensibility, elevated intrabolus pressure, and/or hypertensive muscle contraction such as eosinophilic esophagitis and jackhammer esophagus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1009
Number of pages9
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Dysphagia
  • Esophageal mucosa
  • Esophageal transport
  • Fibrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Modeling and Simulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Simulation studies of the role of esophageal mucosa in bolus transport'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this