Doctors at the Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati, USA, say a mouse model of the disease has shown that allergens can trigger esophagitis.
Writing in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the researchers say that interleukin-5 is crucial to the allergic reaction.
During the experiments, mice were given allergens. Mice who were deficient in interleukin-5 did not develop esophagitis, whereas others developed the esophageal damage. Interestingly, exposure of mice to oral or intragastric allergen does not promote eosinophilic esophagitis, indicating that hypersensitivity in the esophagus occurs with simultaneous development of pulmonary inflammation.
Researcher Dr Marc Rothenberg said interleukin-5-blocking drugs had been developed for asthma and were undergoing clinical trials - but they might also prove effective in children with eosinophilic esophagitis.
Dr Rothenberg said: "One of the things that struck me is that we know that people who develop reflux often have asthma.
"There seems to be some link between the two. In fact, when those with asthma are treated for reflux they sometimes get better.
"Based on this clinical observation, and with the hunch that there was likely to be an association between the development of allergy and esophagitis, our research group subsequently developed the mouse model to prove it."
Report Copyright: Englemed Health News at http://www.internationalmedicalnews.com