Published online Oct 7, 2006. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i37.6002
Revised: March 2, 2006
Accepted: March 10, 2006
Published online: October 7, 2006
AIM: To compare expression of Ca2+-regulating proteins in upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract of achalasia patients and healthy volunteers and to elucidate their role in achalasia.
METHODS: Sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA) isoforms 2a and 2b, phospholamban (PLB), calsequestrin (CSQ), and calreticulin (CRT) were assessed by quantitative Western blotting in esophagus and heart of rats, rabbits, and humans. Furthermore, expression profiles of these proteins in biopsies of lower esophageal sphincter and esophagus from patients with achalasia and healthy volunteers were analyzed.
RESULTS: SERCA 2a protein expression was much higher in human heart (cardiac ventricle) compared to esophagus. However, SERCA 2b was expressed predominantly in the esophagus. The highest CRT expression was noted in the human esophagus, while PLB, although highly expressed in the heart, was below our detection limit in upper GI tissue. Compared to healthy controls, CSQ and CRT expression in lower esophageal sphincter and distal esophageal body were significantly reduced in patients with achalasia (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: PLB in the human esophagus might be of lesser importance for regulation of SERCA than in heart. Lower expression of Ca2+ storage proteins (CSQ and CRT) might contribute to increased lower esophageal sphincter pressure in achalasia, possibly by increasing free intracellular Ca2+.