A rat model was developed recently in our laboratory to study the pathogenesis of Barrett's esophagus (BE) and its progression to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Eightweek-old male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent esophagoduodenal anastomosis (EDA) to produce gastric and duodenal reflux in their distal esophagi. The rats were given iron dextran (50 mg of Fe/kg, i.p.) starting 2 weeks after surgery and this was continued once a month. BE was observed as early as week 3 and the incidence of BE and EAC increased with time: 58 and 17% at week 23; 91 and 73% at week 31. There was a progression in epithelial cell proliferation and inflammation from mild to severe in the distal one-third of the esophagus. Iron deposition in the esophagus also increased with time. Iron deposits in the stromal tissue adjacent to the epithelium in the distal one-third of the esophagus were associated with areas of severe inflammation. Immunohistochemical analysis showed positive inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression in the stromal macrophages directly beneath the epithelium in the distal one-third of the esophagus in 36, 83 and 100% of the rats at weeks 17, 23 and 31, respectively. A significant increasing linear trend (P = 0.001) was seen in nitrotyrosine immunostaining (number of positive cells/high power field) in the distal esophagus. Strong positive nitrotyrosine staining was seen in the macrophages and weaker positive staining was seen in the adjacent epithelium starting at week 17. Furthermore, iron supplemented rats killed at week 31 had significantly higher (P < 0.05) levels of inflammation, cell proliferation, iNOS and nitrotyrosine as well as more tumors in their distal esophagi than did rats that received no iron supplement. These results suggest that iron supplementation enhanced inflammation and the production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in the esophageal epithelium. These processes could contribute to the formation of BE and its progression to EAC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research