The esophagus isnt merely a tube for food traveling from the mouth to the stomach, it also provides an environment for bacteria to live, according to a new study by NYU School of Medicine scientists that overturns the general belief that the esophagus is free of bacteria.
"People thought that the esophagus wasnt hospitable to bacteria," says Martin J. Blaser, M.D., Frederick King Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine, and Professor of Microbiology, an author of the study. Bacteria were believed to move through the esophagus, the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach, as food-borne passengers on route to the stomach.
But the new study in the March 23 print issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrates that bacteria do indeed live in the esophagus, and these microbes are a diverse bunch. "This study provides evidence for the first time that there are indigenous microbes in the human esophagus," says Zhiheng Pei, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pathology and Medicine, the studys lead author.
Pamela McDonnell | EurekAlert!
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