Neurogastroenterology and Motility vol:25 issue:10 pages:783-799
Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is very prevalent and has a high burden on health security system costs. Nevertheless, pathophysiology is complex and not well-understood. Several mechanisms have been proposed: decreased salivation, impaired esophageal clearance, decreased lower esophageal sphincter pressure resting tone, presence of hiatal hernia, increased number of transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESRs), increased acid, and pepsin secretion, pyloric incompetence provoking duodeno-gastro-esophageal reflux of bile acids and trypsin. Independent of the relevance of each mechanism, the ultimate phenomenon is that mucosal epithelium is exposed for a longer time to agents as acid and pepsin or is in contact to luminal agents not commonly present in gastric refluxate as trypsin or bile acids. This leads to a visible damage of the epithelium (erosive esophagitis -EE) or impairing mucosal integrity without any sign of macroscopic alteration as occurs in non-erosive reflux disease (NERD). Luminal factors are not the only responsible for such impairment; more recent data indicate that endogenous factors may also play a role.