The negative impact of a high-fat diet on the course of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has been previously reported. Free fatty acid receptors (FFARs) may be mediators of this phenomenon. The aim of this study was to characterize the role of FFARs in the course of nonerosive (NERD) and erosive (ERD) reflux disease.
Collectively, 73 patients (62 with GERD and 11 healthy controls (HCs)) were recruited to the study. Esophageal biopsies were drawn from the lower third of the esophagus and kept for further experiments. Quantitative, real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to assess the expression of FFAR1, FFAR2, FFAR3, and FFAR4 in biopsies. Histological evaluation of dilated intracellular spaces (DISs) was also performed.
FFAR3 exhibited the highest expression, and FFAR4 exhibited the lowest expression in all esophageal samples. Higher relative expression of FFAR1 and FFAR2 and significantly higher expression of FFAR3 ( = 0.04) was noted in patients with GERD compared to respective HCs. Patients with nonerosive GERD (NERD) presented higher expression of all FFARs compared to patients with erosive GERD (ERD) and respective HCs. Interestingly, in patients with ERD, the expression of FFAR3 was lower than in HCs. Significant, weak, positive correlation was found for FFAR3 and FFAR4 expression and DIS scores (r = 0.36, < 0.05 for FFAR 3, and r = 0.39, < 0.05 for FFAR4).
In this study, we show that FFARs may play a role in GERD pathogenesis, particularly in the NERD type. It may be assumed that FFARs, in particular FFAR3 and FFAR4, may have diagnostic and therapeutic potential in GERD.