Chronic rhinosinusitis pathogenesis

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Dec;136(6):1442-1453. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.10.009.


There are a variety of medical conditions associated with chronic sinonasal inflammation, including chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) and cystic fibrosis. In particular, CRS can be divided into 2 major subgroups based on whether nasal polyps are present or absent. Unfortunately, clinical treatment strategies for patients with chronic sinonasal inflammation are limited, in part because the underlying mechanisms contributing to disease pathology are heterogeneous and not entirely known. It is hypothesized that alterations in mucociliary clearance, abnormalities in the sinonasal epithelial cell barrier, and tissue remodeling all contribute to the chronic inflammatory and tissue-deforming processes characteristic of CRS. Additionally, the host innate and adaptive immune responses are also significantly activated and might be involved in pathogenesis. Recent advancements in the understanding of CRS pathogenesis are highlighted in this review, with special focus placed on the roles of epithelial cells and the host immune response in patients with cystic fibrosis, CRS without nasal polyps, or CRS with nasal polyps.

Keywords: Chronic rhinosinusitis; epithelial cells; inflammation; microbiome; mucociliary clearance; nasal polyps.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology
  • Microbiota
  • Mucociliary Clearance
  • Peptides / immunology
  • Rhinitis / immunology*
  • Rhinitis / microbiology
  • Sinusitis / immunology*
  • Sinusitis / microbiology


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Peptides