IL-5 synthesis is upregulated in human nasal polyp tissue

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1997 Jun;99(6 Pt 1):837-42. doi: 10.1016/s0091-6749(97)80019-x.


Background: In most nasal polyps, tissue eosinophilia is a striking finding, the pathologic mechanism of which is not understood.

Objective: This study was performed to investigate a possibly distinct cytokine and chemokine pattern that could explain the characteristic tissue eosinophilia in nasal polyps.

Methods: Polyps from 23 patients and turbinate tissue from 18 control subjects were investigated. The cytokine protein content (IL-1 beta, IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, IL-1RA, RANTES, GRO-alpha) of tissue homogenates was measured by ELISA. Immunohistochemistry was performed in selected samples to detect IL-5+, major basic protein-positive, and EG2+ cells.

Results: IL-5 was detectable in only one sample of tissue from 18 control subjects but was found in 18 of 23 nasal polyps. Immunohistochemistry revealed an abundant number of IL-5+ cells, of which 69.5% could be identified as eosinophils by morphology. IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, GRO-alpha, and RANTES were detected in all specimens, without significant differences between groups (p > or = 0.05), whereas significnatly higher concentrations of IL-1 beta and IL-1RA were found in turbinate mucosa (p < or = 0.05). IL-3 was not detectable: granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor could only occasionally be found.

Conclusion: This study indicates that IL-5 plays a key role in the pathophysiology of eosinophilic nasal polyps and may be produced by eosinophils.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chemokines / chemistry
  • Cytokines / chemistry
  • Eosinophilia / immunology
  • Eosinophilia / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interleukin-5 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-5 / chemistry
  • Male
  • Nasal Polyps / immunology*
  • Nasal Polyps / metabolism*
  • Nasal Polyps / pathology
  • Turbinates / chemistry
  • Turbinates / immunology
  • Up-Regulation / immunology*


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-5