Correlation Between Ciliary Beat Frequency and the Structure of Ciliated Epithelia in Pathologic Human Nasal Mucosa

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The structure and function of ciliated epithelium were studied in 44 human nasal mucosa samples using a photoelectric method and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The ciliary beat frequency (CBF) of cases with recurrent or chronic sinusitis was 9.1 ± 5.4 Hz. In eight of the samples (18.2%) no ciliary activity was detected. The amount of ciliated cells, the orientation of cilia, epithelial metaplasia, and secretion were found to be explanatory factors accounting for the decreased ciliary activity. Ciliary disorientation and a lack of ciliated cells in SEM correlated with low ciliary activity. In cases where sinusitis secretion was not seen, the CBF was slower than in cases with mucus or mucopurulent secretion. Sinusitis with disoriented cilia, a loss of ciliated cells, and a lack of mucosal secretion is associated with a decreased CBF. This may lead to impaired mucociliary clearance and increase the risk of recurrent and chronic sinusitis.

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