• chronic rhinosinusitis;
  • cystic fibrosis;
  • cytokine profile;
  • inflammation;
  • nasal polyps;
  • remodeling;
  • Th1/Th2 polarization

Background:  Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) clinically is a heterogeneous group of sinus diseases, which may cover different disease entities, or may represent a disease continuum. Studying inflammatory cells and mediators in clearly defined disease subgroups may lead to a better differentiation of chronic sinus diseases.

Methods:  Sinonasal mucosal tissue from 10 nasal polyp (NP) patients, 13 cystic fibrosis patients (CF-NP), eight CRS subjects without polyps, and nine control patients were stained for CD3, CD25, CD68, CD20, myeloperoxidase (MPO), CD138 and tissue homogenates were assayed for eotaxin, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-2sRα, IL-5, interferon (IFN)-γ, IL-8, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, tumor necrosis factor-α, and MPO by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or UNICAP system.

Results:  Nasal polyp and CF-NP showed increased numbers and activation of T cells, while only NP displayed an increase in plasma cells. Nasal polyp had significantly higher levels of eosinophilic markers [eosinophils, eotaxin, and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP)] compared with CRS, controls and CF-NP. Chronic rhinosinusitis was characterized by a Th1 polarization with high levels of IFN-γ and TGF-β, while NP showed a Th2 polarization with high IL-5 and immunoglobulin (Ig) E concentrations. Nasal polyp and CF-NP were discriminated by edema from CRS and controls, with CF-NP displaying a very prominent neutrophilic inflammation.

Conclusion:  Based on cellular and mediator profiles, we suggest that CRS, NP, and CF-NP are distinct disease entities within the group of chronic sinus diseases.