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Vaccine. 2000 Dec 8;19 Suppl 1:S17-25.

Cell biology of tubotympanum in relation to pathogenesis of otitis media - a review.

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The Leslie and Susan Gonda Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, House Ear Institute, 2100 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


The sterility of the eustachian tube and tympanic cavity of normal individuals is maintained not only by the adaptive immune system, but also by the mucociliary system and the antimicrobial molecules of innate immunity. Mucin production and periciliary fluid homeostasis are essential for normal mucociliary function and dysfunction of this system is an important risk factor for otitis media. The secreted antimicrobial molecules of the tubotympanum include lysozyme, lactoferrin, beta defensins, and the surfactant proteins A and D (SP-A, SP-D). Defects in the expression or regulation of these molecules may also be the major risk factor for otitis media.

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