• interferon-gamma;
  • lymphocytes;
  • adenoids;
  • recurrent otitis;
  • children

Infectious diseases are frequently observed in children and their recurrence represents a demanding challenge for the paediatrician. It has been hypothesized that a defective immune response may occur in these patients. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether children presenting with recurrent otitis have a defective interferon (IFN)γ production by the lymphocytes of peripheral blood and of adenoid tissue, in comparison with children without recurrent otitis. Our study group was represented by 58 children undergoing adenoidectomy for adenoidal hypertrophy. They were subdivided into two groups according to the recurrence of otitis (≥3 per year) or not (<3 per year). Intracellular cytokine profile of lymphocyte subsets in adenoids and peripheral blood was evaluated by flow cytometry analysis. Children with recurrent otitis showed a significantly lower percentage of CD8+-producing IFNγ cells in adenoids than children with <3 otitis per year (p = 0.003). The reduced capability of the adenoid cells to produce INF-γ may induce a high susceptibility to the recurrence of otitis in children.