Histopathologic differences due to bacterial species in acute otitis media

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2002 Apr 25;63(2):99-110. doi: 10.1016/s0165-5876(01)00641-3.


Objective: To compare selected features of histopathology in acute otitis media caused by various bacteria and examine potential differences due to bacterial species, as well as possible correlation to experimental and human clinical findings.

Methods: Rat models of acute otitis media caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (MC), non-typeable or type b Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI/HIB) or Moraxella catarrhalis (MC) were studied longitudinally up to 6 months after bacterial challenge. Findings related to dynamics of goblet cell density, modeling and remodeling of bone tissue structures and polyp, as well as fibrous adhesion formation and persistence are presented.

Results: Middle ear goblet cell density progressed to peak 2 weeks after bacterial inoculation, thereafter gradually normalizing. However, density and accordingly middle ear secretory capacity was still significantly increased after 6 months in all bacteria, except MC. The HI species induced the highest increase. Initial osteoresorption was followed by massive osteoneogenesis, progressing to a peak after 2-3 months, followed by some degree of normalization, concurrently classic remodeling. Primarily SP, but also the HI species induced more new bone formation than MC. Mucosal polyp and fibrous adhesion formation occurred regardless of bacterial species. Most polyps appeared in the early phases and the HI species induced formation of more polyps and adhesions than the other bacteria.

Conclusion: Acute middle ear infection with the Haemophilus species induce the highest increase of mucosal secretory capacity, lasting for at least 6 months after the acute incident. Thus, a subsequent development of secretory otitis media seems more likely following infection with these bacteria. Equivalently, mucosal scarring observed as polyp and fibrous adhesion formation was more severe following Haemophilus infection. S. pneumoniae induced the most marked changes of bone tissue structures, seen as initial osteoresorption and subsequent osteoneogenesis. Overall, infection with M. catarrhalis induced the mildest changes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Haemophilus influenzae / pathogenicity*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Moraxella catarrhalis / pathogenicity*
  • Otitis Media / microbiology*
  • Otitis Media / pathology*
  • Probability
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Species Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / pathogenicity*