The immotile cilia syndrome appears to be a congenital defect in the ultrastructure of cilia that renders them incapable of movement. Respiratory tract cilia and sperm are predominantly affected. Bronchiectasis, sinusitis and male sterility are the main clinical findings. Situs inversus may be found. To these findings can be added otitis media.
The defect appears to be a complete or partial absence of dynein arms which are believed to be essential for generating movement of cilia or sperm tails. Six patients suspected of having immotile cilia were compared to six patients in a control group. In affected patients, no cilia movement in the middle ear or nasopharynx was observed using the operating microscope. Electron microscopy of cilia from the mucosa of the middle ear and nasopharynx appeared to confirm the ultrastructural defect in two of six patients suspected of having the syndrome.