Do nasal ciliary changes reflect bronchial changes? An ultrastructural study

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1993 Apr;147(4):908-13. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/147.4.908.


Ciliary dyskinesia is characterized by recurrent respiratory tract infections secondary to abnormal ciliary structure and function. The diagnosis of ciliary dyskinesia is based on the detection of axonemal ultrastructural abnormalities (AUA) is respiratory mucosa samples. In most cases, the diagnosis of AUA is made on samples obtained from nasal ciliated cells with little discomfort to the patient. However, no studies have been performed in the same patient to confirm whether nasal samples reflect bronchial ciliary changes. To answer this question and to determine whether it is necessary to sample bronchial cells for the diagnosis of ciliary dyskinesia, we investigated 12 patients (between the age of 5 and 63 yr) with chronic sputum production. The presence of situs inversus, bronchiectasis, chronic sinusitis, and sterility was investigated to determine an inherited disorder. Two groups were established: Group 1 = six patients with an inherited disorder and Group 2 = six patients without evidence of an inherited disorder. Samples were obtained by brushing or biopsy of nasal and bronchial mucosa and were processed for transmission electron microscopy. In Group 1, the mean AUA was 65.2 +/- 11.4%. The following predominant axonemal defects were found: absence of dynein arms (DA) (four patients), central complex abnormalities (CC) (one patient), and various AUA (one patient). Nasal and bronchial samples correlated significantly for total AUA (r' = 1, p < 0.01) and for outer DA defects (r' = 0.96, p < 0.05). A good but not significant correlation was found for inner DA (r' = 0.83) and peripheral microtubule (PM) defects (r' = 0.71). In Group 2, the mean AUA was 9.6 +/- 2.3%.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bronchi / ultrastructure*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cilia / ultrastructure*
  • Ciliary Motility Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Ciliary Motility Disorders / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucous Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Nasal Mucosa / ultrastructure*