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Inhal Toxicol. 2009 Nov;21(13):1119-22. doi: 10.3109/08958370902767070.

Histopathological changes of the nasal mucosa induced by smoking.

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  • 1Nose and Sinus Institute, Rabin Medical Center, Petah Tikva, Israel. hadartuv@gmail.com


Changes in the histopathology of the respiratory epithelium in response to cigarette smoking have been studied in depth in the lungs, but data on the nasal lining are lacking. The aim of the present retrospective study was to investigate the histological changes that occur in the nasal mucosa of smokers compared with non-smokers. The study group included 47 patients who underwent partial resection of the inferior turbinates. Archival nasal tissue samples were collected and examined by light microscopy: the number of goblet cells was counted, and the degree of inflammation, congestion, and edema was graded as mild, moderate, or severe. Epithelial thickness was measured as well. Findings were compared between smokers (n = 21) and non-smokers (n = 26). On statistical analysis, significant differences were found between the smokers and non-smokers in mean number of goblet cells in the nasal epithelium, 43.43 +/- 16.80 vs. 16.23 +/- 5.65 respectively (p < 0.0001), mean edema grade, 2.43 +/- 0.75 vs. 1.12 +/- 0.33 respectively (p < 0.0001), and mean epithelial thickness, 111.9 +/- 25.8 microm vs. 60.4 +/- 18.4 microm respectively (p < 0.0001). The corresponding mean values of congestion were 2 +/- 0.71 and 1.27 +/- 0.67 (p < 0.001), and of inflammation, 1.81 +/- 0.60 and 1.81 +/- 0.85 (NS). In conclusion, the histopathological findings in the nasal mucosa of smokers resemble reported findings in the bronchial respiratory epithelium. The main differences from non-smokers are greater goblet cell hyperplasia and thicker epithelium.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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