To analyze immunocompetent cells as well as 2 factors involved in inflammation and also thought to be involved in bone remodeling—interleukin 6 (IL-6) and inducible nitric oxide synthase in the human middle ear, including the tympanic membrane.
Biopsy specimens were obtained from the human middle ear and tympanic membrane during surgery. Using an immunohistochemical technique, the expression of macrophages, T cells, B cells, IL-6, and inducible nitric oxide synthase were analyzed.
Nine biopsy specimens from tympanic membranes in children having a transtympanic ventilation tube inserted as a treatment for secretory otitis media and 11 biopsy specimens from tympanosclerotic plaques from patients with chronic otitis media and tympanosclerosis.
More positively stained specimens showing macrophages, B cells, and IL-6 were seen in the biopsy specimens from children with secretory otitis media compared with the biopsy specimens from patients with chronic otitis media and tympanosclerosis. The biopsy specimens from patients with chronic otitis media and tympanosclerosis more often showed positive stainings for inducible nitric oxide synthase than the biopsy specimens from children with secretory otitis media. The presence of IL-6 and inducible nitric oxide synthase was shown by staining to be mostly in the surface cells, while macrophages and B cells were stained deeper in the tissues, in connective tissue, or around sclerotic lesions.
The 2 patient groups differed in antigen presentation so that macrophages, B cells, and IL-6 were labeled more frequently in patients with secretory otitis media, that is, an early phase of the disease. Inducible nitric oxide synthase was seen more frequently in the patients with already established tympanosclerosis in a later phase of the disease.