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Characterization of T-cell subpopulations in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis

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There is an ongoing discussion concerning the potential origins of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis (CRSwNP).


The aim of this study was to quantify subpopulations of T cells in peripheral blood and nasal polyps in CRSwNP to examine their influence on the etiology of this disease.


Tissue and blood samples were collected from 11 patients who underwent nasal sinus surgery, and these samples were analyzed by multicolor flow cytometry.


There was a significantly lower frequency of CD4+ T-helper (Th) cells and a significantly higher frequency of CD8+ T cells among lymphocytes isolated from nasal polyps compared with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). In both T-cell subpopulations, a shift mainly from naive T cells among peripheral blood lymphocytes toward an effector memory and terminally differentiated subtype predominance in nasal polyps was observed. Among CD4+ T cells, the frequencies of cluster of differentiation (CD) 45RA- Forkhead-Box-Protein P3high (FoxP3high) cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated Protein 4high (CTLA-4high) activated regulatory T (Treg) cells, and CD45RA- Forkhead-Box-Protein P3low (FoxP3low) memory T cells were significantly increased in nasal polyps compared with PBMC.


In this study, we presented a detailed characterization of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subpopulations in patients with CRSwNP. CD8+ T cells were more prominent in nasal polyps than in CD4+ T cells. Both nasal CD8+ T cells and CD4+ T cells predominantly had an effector memory phenotype. Among CD4+ T cells, activated Treg cells were increased in nasal polyps compared with PBMC. The data point toward a local regulation of T-cell composition within the microenvironment of nasal polyps, which might be further exploited in the future to develop novel immunotherapeutic strategies.
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Keywords: CD4+ T cells; CD8+ T cells; Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps; Forkhead box protein 3; T cell subpopulations; chronic rhinosinusitis without nasal polyps; conventional T cells; human leukocyte antigen‐antigen D related; memory T cells; regulatory T cells

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Head and Neck Surgery, University of Wuerzburg, Würzburg, Germany 2: Institute for Virology and Immunobiology, University of Wuerzburg, Würzburg, Germany 3: Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery “Otto Körner,” University Medical Center Rostock, Rostock, Germany

Publication date: 01 October 2017

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