Indexed on: 14 Oct '21Published on: 21 Dec '19Published in: BMC gastroenterology
Nerve growth factor (NGF) and enteric glial cells (EGCs) are associated with visceral hypersensitivity and gastrointestinal motility disorder, which may represent the pathogenesis of functional dyspepsia (FD). This study aimed to investigate the expression of NGF, its high affinity receptor tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA) and the EGC activation marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in the gastric mucosa of patients with FD and the association of these proteins with dyspeptic symptoms. Gastric mucosal biopsies taken from 27 FD patients (9 epigastric pain syndrome (EPS) patients, 7 postprandial distress syndrome (PDS) patients and 11 EPS overlap PDS patients) and 26 control subjects were used for analysis. The expression of NGF, TrkA and GFAP was examined, and the association of these proteins with dyspeptic symptoms, including epigastric pain, postprandial fullness, early satiation and epigastric burning, was analysed. The expression levels of NGF, TrkA, and GFAP in the gastric mucosa were significantly higher in the EPS group, the PDS group, and the EPS overlap PDS group than in the healthy control group. There was no significant difference between the FD subgroups. TrkA colocalized with GFAP, which indicated that TrkA was localized to EGCs, and the expression of TrkA in EGCs was significantly higher in the FD group than in the control group. Changes in the expression of NGF, TrkA, and GFAP were positively correlated with epigastric pain, postprandial fullness and early satiation but had no significant relationship with epigastric burning. The increased expression of gastric NGF, TrkA and GFAP might be involved in FD pathophysiology and symptom perception.