Role of mast and goblet cells in the pathogenesis of nasal polyps

Fatma Kitapçi, Nuray Bayar Muluk, Pinar Atasoy, Can Koç
Journal of Otolaryngology 2006, 35 (2): 122-32
In this study, the role of mast and goblet cells and eosinophils in the pathogenesis of nasal polyposis was investigated. The study group consisted of 28 adult patients (15 males, 13 females) with nasal polyposis who underwent functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). All patients in the study group were examined with a questionnaire, an otolaryngologic examination, an endoscopic examination with 0 degrees and 30 degrees endoscopes, Waters' graphy, and axial and coronal computed tomography of the paranasal sinuses. The control group consisted of 10 adult patients without nasal polyp (7 males and 3 females) who underwent septoplasty. They gave written approval to enter the study. The polyp specimens from the study group were excised from four regions: the maxillary sinus, ethmoid sinus, sphenoid sinus, and nasal cavity. They were examined at x400 magnification by light microscopy, and only the slides with polypoid tissue were included in the study. Slides including a chronic inflammatory process without polypoid tissue were excluded from the study. The control group was composed of the slides of specimens from the inferior turbinate. Forty slides (10 in each group) in the study group and 10 slides in the control group were included in the study. The surgical specimens from the study and control groups were examined with a histochemical staining technique. In every surgical specimen, the type of epithelium and the numbers of goblet and mast cells and eosinophils were calculated in x400 high-magnification field in 10 areas on light microscopy, as well as the mean number of these cells, and for mast cells separately, cell count in the epithelium and the stromal layer of polyp tissue and total mast cell count, including both epithelial and stromal mast cells, were identified. Goblet cells, mast cells, and inflammation with eosinophils were observed in all sinonasal mucosa. The common epithelial type in the polyp tissue was pseudostratified ciliated cylindric epithelium, which contains goblet cells. Goblet cell numbers in the maxillary, ethmoid, and sphenoid sinuses and nasal cavity were found to be significantly higher than in the control group (p < .05). For total mast cell and eosinophil count, no statistically significant difference was found between all five groups. In each group, there was no statistically significant difference between goblet and mast cells. Increased goblet cells in sinonasal polyps indicated that systemic factors also affect nasal polyposis as much as local factors, such as airflow and mucosal contact. Surgical treatment of sinonasal polyps by FESS causes more sufficient air ventilation in the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. Therefore, the goblet cell density will decrease because of the exposure of the mucosal surfaces to the air. In particular, FESS and then the appropriate medical treatment may decrease the recurrence rates and increase the patient's comfort. The significantly increased goblet cell count in the sinonasal mucosa demonstrated the importance of these cells in the pathogenesis of nasal polyposis. Also, mast cells and eosinophils may have a role in the inflammatory processes, leading to nasal polyposis formation.

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