Particulate matter exposure is associated with increased inflammatory cytokines and eosinophils in chronic rhinosinusitis

Rory J. Lubner, Kolin Rubel, Rakesh K. Chandra, Justin H. Turner, Naweed I. Chowdhury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is thought to result from complex interactions between the host immune system, microbiota, and environmental exposures. Currently, there is limited data regarding the impact of ambient particulate matter ≤2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5) in the pathogenesis of CRS, despite evidence linking PM2.5 to other respiratory diseases. We hypothesized that PM2.5 may result in differential cytokine patterns that could inform our mechanistic understanding of the effect of environmental factors on CRS. Methods: We conducted an analysis of data prospectively collected from 308 CRS patients undergoing endoscopic sinus surgery. Cytokines were quantified in intraoperative mucus specimens using a multiplex flow cytometric bead assay. Clinical and demographic data including zip codes were extracted and used to obtain tract-level income and rurality measures. A spatiotemporal machine learning model was used to estimate daily PM2.5 levels for the year prior to each patient's surgery date. Spearman correlations and regression analysis were performed to characterize the relationship between mucus cytokines and PM2.5. Results: Several inflammatory cytokines including IL-2, IL-5/IL-13, IL-12, and 21 were significantly correlated with estimated average 6, 9, and 12-month preoperative PM2.5 levels. These relationships were maintained for most cytokines after adjusting for age, income, body mass index, rurality, polyps, asthma, and allergic rhinitis (AR) (p <.05). There were also higher odds of asthma (OR = 1.5, p =.01) and AR (OR = 1.48, p =.03) with increasing 12-month PM2.5 exposure. Higher tissue eosinophil counts were associated with increasing PM2.5 levels across multiple timeframes (p <.05). Conclusions: Chronic PM2.5 exposure may be an independent risk factor for development of a mixed, type-2 dominant CRS inflammatory response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • PM
  • chronic rhinosinusitis
  • cytokines
  • inflammation

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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