Barrett's epithelium is a precancerous, specialized columnar metaplasia in the distal esophagus. We demonstrate the changes in cellular phenotype in a non-neoplastic Barrett's cell line (BAR-T), following exposure to acid and bile salt, the two important components of gastroesophageal refluxate. Cell phenotypes in BAR-T cell line were quantified by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) using monoclonal antibodies against markers: cytokeratin 8/18 (CK8/18) for columnar, CK4 for squamous, mAbDas-1 for colonic epithelial cell phenotype and p75NTR for esophageal progenitors. Cells were exposed for 5 min each day to 200 μM glycochenodeoxycholic acid at pH 4, pH 6 and pH 7.4 or only to acid (pH 4) for up to 6 weeks. The BAR-T cell line comprised 35±5.2% CK8/18, 32±3.5% mAbDas-1, 9.5±3% CK4 and 4±2.5% p75NTR-positive cells. Single exposure to acid and or bile did not change cell phenotypes. However, chronic treatment for at least 2 weeks significantly enhanced (P<0.05) the expression of colonic phenotype and CK8/18-positive cells, as evidenced by FACS analysis. Bile salt at pH 4 and bile salt followed by acid (pH 4) in succession were the strongest stimulators (P<0.01) for induction of colonic phenotype cells. Squamous (CK4+) phenotype did not change by the treatments. Cox-2 expression was induced after acute treatment and increased to twofold during chronic treatment, particularly in response to acidic pH. We conclude that BAR-T cells can be utilized as an 'in vitro' model to study the effect of environmental factors and their influence on the cellular phenotype and molecular changes in the pathogenesis of esophageal cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology
- Barrett's cell line
- Cell phenotype
- Gastroesophageal reflux