Dynamics of COX-2 in nasal mucosa and nasal polyps from aspirin-tolerant and aspirin-intolerant patients with asthma

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004 Oct;114(4):814-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2004.07.050.


Background: Only dynamic studies can elucidate the discrepancies concerning the expression of the inducible COX-2 gene in inflammatory airway diseases.

Objectives: To quantify the expression and spontaneous regulation of COX-1 and COX-2 mRNAs in nasal polyps and nasal mucosa by real-time PCR.

Methods: Nasal polyps were obtained from 16 aspirin-tolerant patients with asthma/rhinitis (ATAR) and 18 aspirin-intolerant patients with asthma/rhinitis (AIAR) undergoing nasal polypectomy. Nasal mucosa was obtained from 12 subjects undergoing nasal corrective surgery. All specimens were cut into 3 pieces. One was immediately snap-frozen in liquid nitrogen, and the remaining 2 were left at room temperature for 30 or 60 minutes before freezing. Data are presented as medians and 25th to 75th percentiles of 10 6 cDNA molecules/microg total RNA.

Results: Baseline COX-2 mRNA levels were significantly lower in both ATAR (0.45; 0.13-1.20; P <.05) and AIAR (0.24; 0.12-0.41; P <.001) nasal polyps than in nasal mucosa (1.35; 0.52-3.90). COX-2 mRNA expression did not change over time in nasal mucosa but increased significantly in ATAR nasal polyps ( P <.05), reaching similar levels to nasal mucosa after 60 minutes. In contrast, COX-2 mRNA showed no significant change over time in AIAR nasal polyps. COX-1 mRNA was higher in nasal polyps than in nasal mucosa, and its expression was not modified over time in any group of patients.

Conclusion: These results suggest differential kinetics of COX-2 mRNA between nasal mucosa and nasal polyps. AIAR nasal polyps appear to have a greater abnormality of the COX-2 pathway than ATAR.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Aspirin / adverse effects*
  • Asthma / chemically induced
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / metabolism*
  • Cyclooxygenase 1
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics*
  • Isoenzymes / physiology
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Nasal Polyps / metabolism*
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / genetics*
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / physiology
  • Rhinitis / chemically induced
  • Rhinitis / complications
  • Rhinitis / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Isoenzymes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Cyclooxygenase 1
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS1 protein, human
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • Aspirin