We identified α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and vimentin expressing spindle shaped esophageal mesenchymal cells in the adult and neonate murine esophageal lamina propria. We hypothesized that these esophageal mesenchymal cells express and secrete signaling and inflammatory mediators in response to injury. We established primary cultures of esophageal mesenchymal cells using mechanical and enzymatic digestion. We demonstrate that these primary cultures are non-hematopoietic, non-endothelial, stromal cells with myofibroblast-like features. These cells increase secretion of IL-6 in response to treatment with acidified media and IL-1β. They also increase Bmp4 secretion in response to SHH. The location of these cells and their biological functions demonstrates their potential role in regulating esophageal epithelial responses to injury and repair.
- esophageal stromal cell
- bone morphogenetic protein-4
- Copyright © 2012, American Journal of Physiology- Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology