Author(s): Galli J
OBJECTIVES: We assess the association between the presence of biofilms and cilial damage in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), describe the microorganisms associated with samples that exhibited cilial loss and biofilms, and demonstrate the absence of ciliary injury and biofilms in similarly prepared "normal" controls. METHODS: We examined samples of ethmoid mucosa obtained from 24 patients who underwent functional endoscopic sinus surgery for CRS. Samples from a control group (20 healthy subjects) were also examined. The specimens were divided into 2 fragments; the first was processed for bacterial cultures, and the second was subjected to scanning electron microscopy. Statistical analysis was performed. RESULTS: All CRS samples had positive bacterial cultures. The scanning electron microscopy analysis showed bacterial biofilms in 10 of the 24 specimens. A marked destruction of the epithelium was observed in samples positive for biofilms (p < 0.001), and the presence of Haemophilus influenzae was associated with ciliary abnormalities (partial damage in 55.6% and absence of cilia in 50%; p = 0.041). CONCLUSIONS: The high percentage of biofilms in our specimens confirms the association between biofilms and CRS. Our data support the hypothesis that biofilm formation represents the latter phase of an inflammatory process that leads to complete epithelial destruction.