Local and systemic eosinophil activation in allergic fungal sinusitis

Timothy A. Feger, Ned T. Rupp, Fred A. Kuhn, Janet L. Ford, William K. Dolen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: In allergic fungal sinusitis diagnostic and monitoring criteria are not firmly established, and the role of eosinophils in pathogenesis is not clear. Objective: To determine whether assessment of eosinophil activation by measurement of eosinophil cationic protein in serum or allergic mucin would be useful in distinguishing patients with allergic fungal sinusitis from patients with chronic sinusitis of other etiologies. Methods: Thirteen patients referred for possible allergic fungal sinusitis were evaluated and given a definite allergic fungal sinusitis diagnosis if they met five of the following six criteria: (1) history and physical not suggesting another etiology, (2) sinus computed tomography consistent with allergic fungal sinusitis, (3) typical allergic mucin, (4) fungus isolated from allergic mucin, (5) presence of fungal-specific IgE, and (6) elevated total IgE. Eosinophil cationic protein, a marker of eosinophil activation, was measured in serum and allergic mucin. Results: Nine patients met criteria for allergic fungal sinusitis. All patients had nasal polyps and were atopic. Eight of the patients had allergic rhinitis and three had asthma. Mean total IgE at surgery was 1,385 IU/mL. A fungus was isolated from allergic mucin of eight patients. All patients demonstrated fungal-specific IgE. Mean allergic mucin eosinophil cationic protein levels obtained at surgery were significantly higher in patients with allergic fungal sinusitis than in four patients not meeting strict diagnostic criteria, and in 16 control patients having sinus surgery for other indications. There was no significant difference in serum eosinophil cationic protein levels between the three groups. Serial allergic mucin eosinophil cationic protein levels appeared to correspond with disease activity in some allergic fungal sinusitis patients. Conclusions: Eosinophils in allergic mucin are activated. Measuring eosinophil cationic protein may be useful in diagnosis of allergic fungal sinusitis and in monitoring response to therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-225
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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