Esophageal symptoms in mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) have been investigated radiologically. We investigated the esophageal lesions in MCTD histopathologically, and analyzed relationships between these lesions and autoantibodies extracted from the serum of MCTD patients. Esophageal tissues from 27 MCTD patients submitted to autopsy were examined. We compared histopathological features of the esophagus in different wall layers from the mucosa, submucosa, and muscular layer to the adventitia, and in the upper, middle, and lower portions of esophagus. The most striking change observed was severe atrophy and occasional loss of smooth muscle cells in the muscular layer, followed by fibrosis. These muscular changes were particularly prominent in the inner layer of the lower esophagus. Immunohistochemically, degenerated muscular tissues of the esophagus were positive for anti-IgG and anti-C3 antibodies, but not for anti-IgM antibodies. IgG fractions extracted from three MCTD patients were immunohistochemically used to examine whether some antibodies in MCTD patients showed reactivity for esophageal components. The IgG fractions isolated from MCTD patients reacted with smooth muscle from non-connective tissue disease cases, suggesting that some serum antibodies may trigger esophageal changes. These findings suggest that esophageal lesions associated with clinical dysphagia in MCTD may be related to autoantibodies.
- Esophageal motility disorder
- Mixed connective tissue disease
- Smooth muscle degeneration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology