Severe forms of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), a common upper airway inflammatory disorder, are associated with nasal polyps (NPs). NP disease is ameliorated by glucocorticoid (GC) treatment, whose cellular effects are poorly understood. We therefore assessed the influence of GC therapy on NPs in CRS patients, focusing on regulatory T (Treg) cells. Treg cell populations were analyzed by flow cytometry in NPs and control tissues from GC-treated CRS patients and controls. After GC exposure, selective expansion of Treg cells was seen within NPs, and not blood or adjacent ethmoid tissues. To confirm direct GC effects, NPs from the same patients were biopsied prior to, and following, 1week of oral GC exposure. Direct expansion of Tregs into the same NP bed was detected in 4/4 CRS patients following GC exposure. Treg cell spikes into NPs were secondary to cellular recruitment given limited Ki67 expression within these regulatory cells. Chemokine gene expression profiling identified several chemokines, notably CCL4, induced within NPs upon GC treatment. Neutralization of chemokine receptor/ligand interactions using CCR4 small molecule antagonists reduced Treg migration towards GC-treated NPs in an ex vivo migration assay. Our findings suggest that the common use of GCs in the treatment of NP disease leads to recruitment of Treg cells from peripheral sites into NP tissues, which may be critical to the anti-inflammatory effect of GCs. Mechanistically Treg expansion appears to be conferred, in part, by chemokine receptor/ligand interactions induced following corticosteroid therapy.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.clim.2017.02.002
View details for PubMedID 28279811