Understanding eosinophilic esophagitis: the cellular and molecular mechanisms of an emerging disease

Mucosal Immunol. 2011 Mar;4(2):139-47. doi: 10.1038/mi.2010.88. Epub 2011 Jan 12.


Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) has been increasingly recognized as a unique clinicopathological entity over the past two decades. In this short time, the mechanisms of a complex disease have begun to emerge. Patient studies suggest that EoE is an immunologic disease related to atopy. At the cellular level, eosinophils, mast cells, and B and T lymphocytes are increased in the esophageal mucosa in a patchy distribution throughout the length of the esophagus. Laboratory investigations have implicated aeroallergens, food allergens, and a unique T helper type 2 cytokine profile. EoE appears to be an antigen-driven hypersensitivity reaction characterized by a mixed IgE-dependent/delayed-type reaction and a distinct cascade of cytokines and growth factors. The causative events that lead to EoE in humans remain unknown.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / drug therapy
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / genetics
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / immunology*
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / physiopathology*
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Eosinophils / metabolism
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • Mast Cells / immunology
  • Mast Cells / metabolism
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy