Alterations in gene expression of complement components in chronic rhinosinusitis

Rodney J. Schlosser, Ryan M. Mulligan, Sarah E. Casey, Juan C. Varela, Richard J. Harvey, Carl Atkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The complement cascade forms part of the initial innate response to pathogens in the airway. Complement activation is important in the maintenance of host homeostasis, but excessive and uncontrolled activation may lead to inflammation and disease. The role of the complement pathway in the innate response in chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is poorly characterized Methods: Sinus mucosa biopsy specimens from the anterior ethmoid or uncinate process of patients with allergic fungal rhinosinusitis (AFRS), CRS without NPs (CRS - NPs), and controls were harvested and gene and protein expression of C3, factor B (fB), C5, and C7 complement proteins were analyzed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemical techniques. Results: fB, C3, and C5 gene expression were increased in both AFRS and CRS - NPs compared with controls (p < 0.05). Transcriptional activity for the terminal pathway protein C7 was not significantly increased when compared with controls, with C7 levels actually reduced in AFRS patients when compared with controls. Immunohistochemistry studies showed the presence of C3 and fB on the mucosal surface and in submucosa of both AFRS and CRS - NPs, but not normal controls. Terminal pathway protein C9 was not found in our specimens. Conclusion: Both AFRS and CRS - NPs display up-regulation of the complement pathway, in particular, the alternative pathway (fB) and common pathways (C3 and C5). Enhanced innate responses as shown by alterations in complement components may play a pivotal role in the inflammatory response noted in CRS and provide potential therapeutic targets in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Allergy
  • Complement pathway
  • Fungal sinusitis
  • Inflammation
  • Innate immunity
  • Mucosa
  • Sinusitis

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