OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Since the early 1990s, the knowledge of inflammatory mediators involved in chronic rhinosinusitis has increased extensively. However, until the present no data on trends in mediator levels in the natural course of the exacerbation-free interval of chronic rhinosinusitis have been published. The purpose of the study was to examine how levels of inflammatory mediators and clinical findings in chronic rhinosinusitis relate over time in the absence of acute exacerbation. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective study. METHODS: The authors investigated 12 untreated patients with chronic rhinosinusitis and repeated clinical examinations and measurements of inflammatory mediators in the nasal mucosa (messenger RNA [mRNA]of interleukin-1beta; interleukins 3, 5, 6, and 8 [IL-3, IL-5, IL-6, and IL-8]; interferon gamma; tumor necrosis factor-alpha [TNF-alpha]; monocyte chemotactic proteins 1, 3, and 4 [MCP-1, MCP-3, and MCP-4]; and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor [GM-CSF]), as well as measurements of peptido-leukotriene [PLT] and prostaglandin E2 [PGE2]) in nasal secretion over a period of 4 weeks. RESULTS: Clinically speaking, the symptom score significantly improved over the period of 4 weeks, whereas other clinical parameters (computed tomography score, endoscopy score, rhinomanometric values, saccharine transport time, ciliary beat frequency, and olfaction) varied insignificantly. Regarding proinflammatory and inflammatory mediators, only mRNA of IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, MCP-1, and TNF-alpha were detected in relevant amounts in nasal mucosa, and their levels decreased only insignificantly over the 4-week period. In nasal secretion, a slight decrease of PGE2 and PLT levels was observed over the same time period. CONCLUSION: Subjective symptoms may show a spontaneous improvement of approximately 25% in patients with so-called "stable" chronic rhinosinusitis over a 4-week period, whereas objective clinical parameters vary insignificantly. Messenger RNA of IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, MCP-1, and TNF-alpha, as well as PLT and PGE2 levels, are detectable and appear to play a role in the persistence of inflammation in chronic rhinosinusitis. Their levels decrease only insignificantly over time, even in the absence of acute exacerbation of disease, possibly rendering the mucosa more prone to recurrent acute episodes.
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