Reduced expression of antimicrobial PLUNC proteins in nasal polyp tissues of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis

Allergy. 2012 Jul;67(7):920-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2012.02848.x.


Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a disease characterized by inflammation of the nasal mucosa and paranasal sinuses. This inflammation may result in part from decreased epithelial barrier and innate immune responses, leading to frequent bacterial and fungal colonization. The objectives of this study were to investigate the expression of innate immune proteins of the palate lung and nasal epithelium clone (PLUNC) family in patients with CRS.

Methods: Nasal tissue samples were collected from control subjects and CRS patients with and without nasal polyps. Expression of the members of the PLUNC family was analyzed by real-time PCR. Expression of SPLUNC1 and LPLUNC2 proteins was analyzed by ELISA, immunoblot, and immunohistochemical analysis.

Results: Levels of mRNA for most of the members of the PLUNC family were profoundly reduced in nasal polyps (NPs) compared to uncinate tissue from control subjects or patients with CRS. LPLUNC2 and SPLUNC1 proteins were decreased in NPs of patients with CRS compared to uncinate tissue from control subjects. Immunohistochemical data revealed that within submucosal glands of sinonasal tissues, SPLUNC1 and LPLUNC2 were differentially expressed, in serous and mucous cells, respectively. The decrease in the expression of these molecules is probably explained by a decrease in the number of glands in NPs as revealed by correlations with levels of the glandular marker lactoferrin.

Conclusions: Decreased SPLUNC1 and LPLUNC2 in NPs reflect a profound decrease in the number of submucosal glands. Decreased glands may lead to a localized defect in the production and release of glandular innate defense molecules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Expression*
  • Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lactoferrin / genetics
  • Lactoferrin / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Mucosa / immunology
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Nasal Polyps / genetics*
  • Nasal Polyps / immunology
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics*
  • Phosphoproteins / immunology
  • Rhinitis / genetics*
  • Rhinitis / immunology
  • Sinusitis / genetics*
  • Sinusitis / immunology
  • Young Adult


  • BPIFA1 protein, human
  • Glycoproteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Lactoferrin