Relative abundance of nasal microbiota in chronic rhinosinusitis by structured histopathology

Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2018 Dec;8(12):1430-1437. doi: 10.1002/alr.22192. Epub 2018 Sep 21.


Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is an inflammatory disease process with several different phenotypes. Recent data has shown that CRS phenotypes maintain distinct nasal microbiota that may predict surgical outcomes. Nasal microbiota and structured histopathologic reporting have the potential to further differentiate subtypes and provide additional insight into the pathophysiology of CRS.

Methods: Sinus swabs collected during functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) were studied by polymerase chain reaction analysis of 16S ribosomal RNA. A structured histopathology report of 13 variables was utilized to analyze sinus tissue removed during FESS. Histopathology variables and relative abundance of nasal microbiota were compared among CRS patients.

Results: A total of 51 CRS patients who underwent FESS were included. Relative abundance of the Firmicutes phylum in nasal microbiota of CRS patients was associated with presence of neutrophilic infiltrate (27.47 ± 44.75 vs 9.21 ± 11.84, p < 0.029), presence of mucosal ulceration (47.67 ± 45.52 vs 13.27 ± 26.48, p < 0.041), presence of squamous metaplasia (5562.70 ± 2715.66 vs 3563.73 ± 2580.84, p < 0.035), and absence of Charcot-Leyden crystals (5423.00 ± 3320.57 vs 679.94 ± 1653.66, p < 0.001). Relative abundance of the Bacteroidetes phylum in nasal microbiota of CRS patients was associated with increased severity of inflammatory degree (p < 0.004) and presence of mucosal ulceration (p < 0.004).

Conclusion: Distinct histopathologic features of CRS are associated with relative abundance of nasal microbiota phyla, specifically Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. These findings contribute to the growing body of literature on microbiota in sinonasal disease and may have important implications for understanding pathophysiologic mechanisms of CRS subtypes and disease management.

Keywords: alpha diversity; chronic rhinosinusitis; microbiome; relative abundance; sinus surgery; structured histopathology.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteroidetes / physiology*
  • Biodiversity
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Firmicutes / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metaplasia
  • Microbiota / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Paranasal Sinuses / immunology
  • Paranasal Sinuses / microbiology*
  • Paranasal Sinuses / pathology
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / analysis
  • Rhinitis / microbiology*
  • Rhinitis / pathology
  • Sinusitis / microbiology*
  • Sinusitis / pathology


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S