The gut and local esophageal microbiome progressively shift from healthy commensal bacteria to inflammation-linked pathogenic bacteria in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). However, mechanisms by which microbial communities and metabolites contribute to reflux-driven EAC remain incompletely understood and challenging to target. Herein, we utilized a rat reflux-induced EAC model to investigate targeting the gut microbiome–esophageal metabolome axis with cranberry proanthocyanidins (C-PAC) to inhibit EAC progression. Sprague-Dawley rats, with or without reflux induction, received water or C-PAC ad libitum (700 μg/rat/day) for 25 or 40 weeks. C-PAC exerted prebiotic activity abrogating reflux-induced dysbiosis and mitigating bile acid metabolism and transport, culminating in significant inhibition of EAC through TLR/NF-κB/TP53 signaling cascades. At the species level, C-PAC mitigated reflux-induced pathogenic bacteria (Streptococcus parasanguinis, Escherichia coli, and Proteus mirabilis). C-PAC specifically reversed reflux-induced bacterial, inflammatory, and immune-implicated proteins and genes, including Ccl4, Cd14, Crp, Cxcl1, Il6, Il1b, Lbp, Lcn2, Myd88, Nfkb1, Tlr2, and Tlr4, aligning with changes in human EAC progression, as confirmed through public databases. C-PAC is a safe, promising dietary constituent that may be utilized alone or potentially as an adjuvant to current therapies to prevent EAC progression through ameliorating reflux-induced dysbiosis, inflammation, and cellular damage.


Katherine M. Weh, Connor L. Howard, Yun Zhang, Bridget A. Tripp, Jennifer L. Clarke, Amy B. Howell, Joel H. Rubenstein, Julian A. Abrams, Maria Westerhoff, Laura A. Kresty


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