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Immunological and Morphogenic Basis of Gastric Mucosa Atrophy and Metaplasia


Immunological and Morphogenic Basis of Gastric Mucosa Atrophy and Metaplasia

Gerhard Faller et al. Virchows Arch.


Chronic gastritis with gastric mucosa atrophy, intestinal metaplasia and endocrine cell hyperplasia are alterations with an increased risk for the development of gastric neoplasias. Immunological studies in autoimmune gastritis, in atrophic Helicobacter pylori gastritis and in studies with transgenic mice point to a central role of the parietal cell in the development of gastric mucosa atrophy. Destruction of gastric epithelial cells alone might not be sufficient for the loss of complete gastric glands. Gastric atrophy, endocrine cell hyperplasia and intestinal and pancreatic metaplasia can be regarded as the result of altered morphogenesis within the gastric mucosa. Impaired expression of the gastric morphogenic factor Sonic Hedgehog by parietal cells and increased expression of the transcriptional activators of intestinal and pancreatic differentiation, namely CDX2 and PDX1, seem to be crucial for the development of gastric atrophy and for intestinal, endocrine and pancreatic transdifferentiation processes. Altered expression of these morphogenic factors is partly caused by changes in the gastric milieu. Further studies concerning the normal and pathological morphogenesis of the gastric mucosa and related tissues might give new insight into the pathogenesis of gastric atrophy and metaplasia.

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