The refluxate: The impact of its magnitude, composition and distribution

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2010 Dec;24(6):861-71. doi: 10.1016/j.bpg.2010.09.002.


The pathogenesis of gastrointestinal reflux disease is multifactoral. Integral to the disease process is the refluxate itself. The characteristics and composition of the refluxate are dependent on several physiological variables. The refluxate may contain varying concentrations of acid, pepsin, gas, or contents of duodenal reflux (such as bile acid and pancreatic enzymes). Characteristics such as volume and proximal extent of the refluxate, and the chemical content of this refluxate can strongly influence the risk of symptom perception. Strong acid (pH<4) and duodeno-gastro-oesophageal reflux are also implicated in the development of mucosal damage in the form of oesophagitis, Barrett's metaplasia and oesophageal adenocarcinoma. The manifestation of disease, however, is not entirely reliant on the refluxate, which must be considered in the context of the genetic, environmental and psychological susceptibility of the individual.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Barrett Esophagus / etiology
  • Barrett Esophagus / metabolism
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism
  • Disease Progression
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Esophagitis / etiology
  • Esophagitis / metabolism
  • Gastric Acid / metabolism*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / etiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / metabolism*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Pepsin A / metabolism
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Pepsin A