Total and specific IgE in nasal polyps is related to local eosinophilic inflammation

C Bachert, P Gevaert, G Holtappels, S G Johansson, P van Cauwenberge
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2001, 107 (4): 607-14

BACKGROUND: Nasal polyps (NPs) are characterized by eosinophilic inflammation and often coexist with asthma. However, the role of atopy and IgE in NP pathogenesis is unclear.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine whether there is an association between total and specific IgE to a variety of allergens in polyp and nonpolyp tissue and markers of eosinophilic inflammation or skin test results.

METHODS: Homogenates were prepared from nasal tissue of 20 patients with NPs and 20 patients without NPs and analyzed for concentrations of IL-5, IL-4, eotaxin, leukotriene (LT) C4/D4/E4, sCD23, and histamine (ELISA). Eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), tryptase, and total and specific IgE for inhalant allergens and Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxins were measured (ImmunoCAP).

RESULTS: The concentrations of total IgE, IL-5, eotaxin, ECP, LTC4/D4/E4, and sCD23 were significantly higher in NP tissue compared with nonpolyp tissue. Total IgE was significantly correlated to IL-5, ECP, LTC4/D4/E4, and sCD23 and to the number of eosinophils in NPs. On the basis of the presence of specific IgE antibodies in tissue, 3 NP groups were defined. NP group 1 demonstrated no measurable specific IgE, and NP group 2 selected specific IgE. The third group demonstrated a multiclonal specific IgE, including IgE to S aureus enterotoxins, a high total IgE level, and a high prevalence of asthma.

CONCLUSIONS: These studies suggest that there is an association between increased levels of total IgE, specific IgE, and eosinophilic inflammation in NPs, which may be of relevance in the pathophysiology of nasal polyposis. Similarly, the presence of specific IgE to staphylococcal enterotoxins A and B also points to a possible role of bacterial superantigens.

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