Role of acid and duodenogastric reflux in esophageal mucosal injury: a review of animal and human studies

Gastroenterology. 1995 Jun;108(6):1897-907. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(95)90156-6.


The role of acid and duodenogastric reflux (DGR) in the development of esophageal mucosal injury has been extensively investigated using both animal and human models. In this report, clinical and experimental data are reviewed. The mechanisms by which gastric and duodenal contents produce esophageal mucosal injury are also discussed. Acid and pepsin are unquestionably important in causing mucosal damage at low pH values in both animal and human models. Animal models suggest synergistic damaging potential for conjugated bile acids and HCI as well as that of unconjugated bile acids and trypsin in more neutral pH values. Human evidence for the involvement of bile and its constituents has been controversial; however, the advent of better technology to detect DGR is beginning to clarify the role of these constituents. The contribution of each methodology in clarifying the extent of involvement of DGR in esophageal mucosal injury is reviewed. Despite some conflicting results, preliminary human studies support the results from the animal data suggesting synergistic damaging effects for both bile and acid in esophageal mucosal injury. The implication of these studies in treating gastroesophageal reflux disease are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / physiology*
  • Bilirubin / analysis
  • Duodenogastric Reflux / complications*
  • Esophageal Diseases / etiology*
  • Gastric Acid / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Mucous Membrane / pathology
  • Pepsin A / toxicity


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Pepsin A
  • Bilirubin