Background: The role of the innate immune system in the pathophysiology of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is poorly understood. In this study, we compared sinonasal expression of toll-like receptors (TLRs), complement components, serum amyloid A, and inflammatory genes (chemokines and cytokines) in control subjects and patients undergoing sinus surgery for CRS. Methods: Eleven control subjects and 30 subjects with CRS unresponsive to medical management were enrolled prospectively before undergoing endoscopic sinus surgery. Ethmoid mucosal specimens were obtained surgically and processed for RNA extraction. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to quantitate the level of expression of messenger RNA (mRNA) for TLR, acute phase proteins, and cytokine genes. Subjects were followed for a minimum of 6 months postoperatively with nasal endoscopy to assess for recurrence of polyps. Results: mRNA for all target genes was detected in the ethmoid mucosa of both control and CRS subjects. The level of gene expression was normalized to the housekeeping genes 18s RNA and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. As compared with controls, CRS was associated with significantly higher expression of TLR2 and the inflammatory genes macrophage-inflammatory protein α, RANTES, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Patients with early recurrence of polyps after surgery had significantly decreased expression of TLR2, 9, and serum amyloid A and increased expression of macrophage-inflammatory protein α compared with surgery-responsive patients. Conclusion: This study shows the increased levels of expression of TLR2 and a variety of inflammatory genes in sinonasal mucosa of CRS patients compared with controls. Whether these differences play a role in pathogenesis or are merely manifestations of disease activity is worthy of investigation.
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