Nattokinase, profibrinolytic enzyme, effectively shrinks the nasal polyp tissue and decreases viscosity of mucus

Allergol Int. 2017 Oct;66(4):594-602. doi: 10.1016/j.alit.2017.03.007. Epub 2017 Apr 4.


Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) is often comorbid with asthma and resistant to therapeutic interventions. We recently reported that excessive fibrin deposition caused by impairment of fibrinolysis might play pivotal role in forming nasal polyp. Nattokinase (NK), a serine protease produced by Bacillus subtilis, has been reported to be a strong fibrinolytic enzyme. NK could be a promising drug candidate for use in the treatment of both CRSwNP and asthma. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of NK on nasal polyp tissues from patients with CRSwNP. The nasal discharge from patients with CRSwNP and sputum from subjects with asthma were also used to investigate whether NK influences the viscosity of mucus.

Methods: To examine the effects on NK on nasal polyp tissues, pieces of nasal polyps were incubated either with saline or NK (10-1000 FU/ml) at 37 °C for 24 h. We assessed the presence of fibrin in nasal polyp tissue incubated with NK by means of immunohistochemistry. To examine the effects of NK on nasal discharge and sputum from patients with CRSwNP and asthma, respectively, were incubated with NK solution at 37 °C for 1 h.

Results: NK effectively shrinks the nasal polyp tissue through fibrin degradation. We also found that the viscosity of the nasal discharge and sputum from patients with CRSwNP and asthma, respectively, was significantly reduced by incubation with NK solution.

Conclusions: NK may be an effective alternative therapeutic option in patients with CRSwNP and comorbid asthma by causing fibrin degradation.

Keywords: Asthma; Chronic rhinosinusitis; Fibrin; Nasal polyps; Nattokinase.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Eosinophils / metabolism
  • Eosinophils / pathology
  • Female
  • Fibrin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucus / metabolism*
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Nasal Mucosa / pathology
  • Nasal Polyps / immunology
  • Nasal Polyps / metabolism*
  • Nasal Polyps / pathology*
  • Proteolysis
  • Rhinitis / metabolism
  • Rhinitis / pathology
  • Sinusitis / metabolism
  • Sinusitis / pathology
  • Subtilisins / metabolism*
  • Viscosity


  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Fibrin
  • Subtilisins
  • nattokinase