AIM: To investigate miR-200 family expression in Barrett's epithelium, gastric and duodenal epithelia, and esophageal adenocarcinoma. METHODS: Real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction was used to measure miR-200, ZEB1 and ZEB2 expression. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis of miR-200 targets was used to predict biological outcomes. RESULTS: Barrett's epithelium expressed lower levels of miR-141 and miR-200c than did gastric and duodenal epithelia (P < 0.001). In silky analysis indicated roles for the miR-200 family in molecular pathways that distinguish Barrett's epithelium from gastric and duodenal epithelia, and which control apoptosis and proliferation. All miR-200 members were downregulated in adenocarcinoma (P < 0.02), and miR-200c expression was also downregulated in non-invasive epithelium adjacent to adenocarcinoma (P < 0.02). The expression of all miR-200 members was lower in Barrett's epithelium derived high-grade dysplastic cell lines than in a cell line derived from benign Barrett's epithelium. We observed significant inverse correlations between miR-200 family expression and ZEB1 and ZEB2 expression in Barrett's epithelium and esophageal adenocarcinoma (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: miR-200 expression might contribute to the anti-apoptotic and proliferative phenotype of Barrett's epithelium and regulate key neoplastic processes in this epithelium. (C) 2011 Baishideng. All rights reserved.