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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000 Nov;123(5):533-8.

Increased expression of major basic protein (MBP) and interleukin-5(IL-5) in middle ear biopsy specimens from atopic patients with persistent otitis media with effusion.

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  • 1Meakins-Christie Laboratories, and the Department of Otolaryngology, McGill University, Canada.



Molecular biologic evidence to support an etiologic role for allergy in the pathogenesis of persistent otitis media with effusion (OME) is lacking.


The goal of this article was to document expression of allergy-associated Th-2-type cytokines and inflammatory cells in the middle ear mucosa of children with persistent OME.


With immunocytochemistry (CD3, major basic protein) and in situ hybridization (interleukin-5 mRNA), middle ear biopsy specimens from 7 children with persistent OME were stained. Nonatopic stapedectomy patients with no history of otitis media served as controls (n = 7).


There was a statistically significant (P< 0.05) difference in expression of CD3, major basic protein, and interleukin-5 between experimental and control subjects. All 8 OME patients proved to be atopic by ELISA testing.


Type I allergy involving a Th-2-type cytokine and cellular profile may be a contributing factor in the persistence of OME in atopic children.


The middle ear may serve as a target organ for allergic inflammation, suggesting that appropriate allergy management may be a useful adjunct to the management of OME.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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