Esophageal Intraepithelial Neutrophil Infiltration is Common in Nigerian Patients With Non-Erosive Reflux Disease

Sylvester Chuks Nwokediuko, Uchenna Ijoma, Okechukwu Okafor


Background: Non-erosive reflux disease (NERD) is a variant of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in which patients with typical reflux symptoms have no evidence of erosive esophagitis at endoscopy. An objective diagnostic tool for NERD remains an unmet need for clinicians and researchers. This study was designed to determine the types of histological alterations seen in Nigerian patients with NERD.

Methods: This was a prospective cross-sectional study in which mucosal biopsy was taken from the lower esophagus in patients with NERD. Similar biopsy was also taken from patients with nonulcer dyspepsia who served as controls. The materials were processed and examined histologically.

Results: There were 68 patients with NERD and 60 patients with nonulcer dyspepsia. Intraepithelial neutrophil infiltration was significantly more frequent in patients with NERD compared to those with nonulcer dyspepsia (47.1% vs 13.3%, P = 0.0326). Epithelial proliferative chnges in the form of basal cell hyperplasia and papilla elongation were minimal (11.8% and 3.3% respectively).

Conclusions: Nigerian patients with NERD have a high degree of esophageal intraepithelial neutrophil infiltration and a low prevalence of epithelial proliferative changes. This may be related to the relative rarity of Barretts esophagus in Nigerians.

Gastroenterol Res. 2011;4(1):20-25


Intraepithelial; Neutrophil; Esophagus; NERD; Nigerians

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