Nasal polyp antibody-secreting cells display proliferation signature in aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2024 Feb;153(2):527-532. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2023.10.011. Epub 2023 Oct 28.


Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) causes nasal obstruction and olfactory dysfunction. Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) is the triad of CRSwNP, asthma, and respiratory reactions to COX-1 inhibitors. Patients with AERD have elevated nasal IL-5 levels and high numbers of antibody-secreting cells (ASCs), including plasma cells and plasmablasts, in their polyp tissue; in addition, their nasal polyp (NP) IgE levels are correlated with disease severity and recurrence of nasal polyposis.

Objective: We sought to explore differences in the transcriptomic profile, activation markers, and IL-5Rα expression and function of NP ASCs from patients with AERD and CRSwNP.

Methods: NP tissue was collected from patients with AERD and CRSwNP and digested into single-cell suspensions. NP cells were analyzed for protein expression by mass cytometry. For IL-5Rα functional studies, plasma cells were purified and cultured in vitro with or without IL-5 and analyzed by bulk RNA sequencing.

Results: Compared with polyp tissue from patients with CRSwNP, polyp tissue from patients with AERD contained significantly more ASCs and had increased ASC expression of IL-5Rα. ASCs from patients with AERD expressed higher protein levels of B-cell activation and regulatory markers (CD40, CD19, CD32, and CD38) and the proliferation marker Ki-67. ASCs from patients with AERD also expressed more IL5RA, IGHE, and cell cycle- and proliferation-related transcripts (CCND2, MKI67, CDC25A, and CDC25B) than did ASCs from patients with CRSwNP. Stimulation of plasma cells from patients with AERD with IL-5 induced key cell cycle genes (CCND2 and PTP4A3), whereas IL-5 stimulation of ASCs from patients with CRSwNP induced few transcriptomic changes.

Conclusion: NP tissue ASCs from patients with AERD express higher levels of functional IL-5Rα and markers associated with cell cycling and proliferation than do ASCs from patients with aspirin-tolerant CRSwNP.

Keywords: AERD; Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease; IL-5; NSAID-ERD; antibody-secreting cells; chronic rhinosinusitis; nasal polyps; plasma cells.

MeSH terms

  • Antibody-Producing Cells / metabolism
  • Aspirin / adverse effects
  • Asthma, Aspirin-Induced* / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-5
  • Nasal Polyps* / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases
  • Rhinitis* / metabolism
  • Sinusitis* / metabolism


  • Interleukin-5
  • Aspirin
  • PTP4A3 protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases