The identification of a distinct syndrome, designated eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE), with its own clinical and histopathological characteristics, was first described in the early 1990s. Meanwhile intense research has uncovered many molecular, immunological and clinical aspects of this chronic-inflammatory disorder. This article focuses exclusively on basic and clinical insights of EoE gathered during the last few years. Regarding aetiopathogenesis it has become clear that EoE is a food-triggered disease with milk and wheat as the dominant culprit food categories. However, it is still debated whether a disturbed mucosal integrity allowing allergens to cross the mucosal barrier, or changes in wheat and milk manufacturing might induce these inflammatory responses. Furthermore, basic science and clinical studies have accordingly confirmed that a chronic eosinophilic inflammation leads to a remodelling of the oesophagus with micro- and macro-morphological alterations, ending in a strictured oesophagus with impaired function. Fortunately, long-term therapeutic trials, using either topical corticosteroids or dietary allergen avoidance, have demonstrated that this sequela can be prevented or even reversed. This finding is of clinical relevance as it supports the initiation of a consistent anti-inflammatory therapy. Nevertheless, EoE is still an enigmatic disease and the long list of unanswered questions will certainly stimulate further research.
- OESOPHAGEAL STRICTURES
- CELL ADHESION MOLECULES