Eosinophilic infiltration in the nasal mucosa of rhinitis patients: is it affected by the presence of asthma or the allergic status of the patients?

Panagiota Lambrou, Eleftherios Zervas, Erasmia Oikonomidou, Niki Papageorgiou, Manos Alchanatis, Mina Gaga
Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2007, 98 (6): 567-72

BACKGROUND: Asthma and rhinitis often coexist, and there is evidence to suggest that they have similar histopathologic features.

OBJECTIVE: To examine whether the inflammatory infiltration in the nasal mucosa in rhinitis is affected by the presence of asthma and allergy.

METHODS: Nasal mucosa biopsy samples were collected from 44 individuals: 18 with rhinitis and asthma (9 allergic and 9 nonallergic), 16 with rhinitis and no asthma (8 allergic and 8 nonallergic), and 10 nonallergic control subjects. The alkaline phosphatase-anti-alkaline phosphatase method was applied to 6-microm-thick cryostat sections using monoclonal antibodies against T cells (CD4 and CD8) and eosinophils (EG2). Slides were counted blindly, and results are expressed as cells per high-power field.

RESULTS: Eosinophil counts were higher in the nasal mucosa of rhinitic patients vs controls. No differences in cellular infiltration were detected between rhinitic patients with and without asthma or between allergic and nonallergic patients. A trend toward higher CD4+ T-cell counts in the nasal mucosa of rhinitic patients was observed, whereas no differences were noted in CD8+ T-cell infiltration among the groups.

CONCLUSION: Inflammatory infiltration, characterized by the presence of eosinophils and CD4+ T cells, was similar in the nasal mucosa in noninfectious rhinitis irrespective of the presence of asthma or the allergic status of the patient.

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