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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2011 Oct;268(10):1455-62. doi: 10.1007/s00405-011-1623-x. Epub 2011 May 6.

Biofilm detection in chronic rhinosinusitis by combined application of hematoxylin-eosin and gram staining.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, University of Debrecen, Medical and Health Science Center, Nagyerdei Krt. 98, Debrecen 4032, Hungary.

Abstract

The pathomechanism of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis (CRS/NP) seems to be unclear. Bacterial-, fungal- and combined biofilms might play a potential role in the pathogenesis of various inflammatory diseases and recently in CRS/NP. A prospective, blinded observational study was performed to confirm that the combination of conventional hematoxylin-eosin (HE) and Gram staining protocols could be used to detect bacterial and fungal biofilms in patients with CRS/NP. A total of 50 patients with CRS/NP undergoing endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) were analyzed. The negative control group consisted of 12 patients undergoing septoplasty for nasal obstruction without CRS/NP. The nasal polyps and inferior turbinate mucosa specimens applied as negative controls were processed to HE and Gram staining. Biofilm was detected in 44 of 50 patients with CRS/NP and in none of 12 negative controls. In our series, HE method showed an obvious correlation with the results of Gram staining and was allocated to be a good predictor of biofilm existence. It was found that the microscopic structure and thickness of biofilms were strongly associated with the integrity of nasal mucosa and with the characteristics of subepithelial cellular infiltration. This study confirmed the presence of bacterial and fungal biofilms on the surface of NPs obtained from patients with CRS. Since biofilms may affect the severity and recurrence rate of CRS treated by ESS they should be detected histologically. In conclusion, HE staining combined with Gram protocol is a robust and reliable method for the detection of bacterial and fungal biofilms in CRS/NP.

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