Nasal mucus proteome and its involvement in allergic rhinitis

Expert Rev Proteomics. 2020 Mar;17(3):191-199. doi: 10.1080/14789450.2020.1748502. Epub 2020 Apr 8.


Introduction: Nasal mucus is the first line defense barrier against various pathogens including allergens. Proteins in nasal mucus maybe used as biomarkers for diagnosis or future therapeutic strategies. Proteomics opens the possibility to investigate whole human proteomes.Areas Covered: We aimed to analyze the existing literature on nasal mucus and nasal secretions proteomic approaches especially in allergic rhinitis. A PubMed/Medline search was conducted entering the following keywords and combinations: "nasal mucus", "nasal lavage fluid," nasal secretions," "nasal swabs," "allergic rhinitis," "proteins," and "proteomics."Expert opinion: The majority of studies focus on single proteins or protein groups mainly using ELISA techniques. Four studies met the criteria using mass spectrometry in the analysis of nasal mucus proteomes in rhinologic diseases. In these studies, 7, 35, 267, and 430 proteins were identified, respectively. These four studies are discussed in this review and put in relation to seven other proteomic studies that focus on nasal lavage fluid and nasal secretions obtained by swabs or filter paper. To put it in a nutshell, proteomics facilitates the investigation of the nasal secretome and its role in healthy and diseased state and as potential biomarkers for new diagnostic or therapeutic approaches.

Keywords: Nasal mucus; mass spectrometry; proteomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Nasal Mucosa / pathology
  • Proteome / genetics*
  • Proteomics*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / genetics*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / pathology


  • Biomarkers
  • Proteome

Grant support

The article was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) [Project Number: KLI 425 Programm Klinische Forschung (KLIF)].