Article Text

Olfactory dysfunction is worse in primary ciliary dyskinesia compared with other causes of chronic sinusitis in children
  1. Massimo Pifferi1,
  2. Andrew Bush2,
  3. Michele Rizzo1,
  4. Alessandro Tonacci3,
  5. Maria Di Cicco1,
  6. Martina Piras1,
  7. Fabrizio Maggi4,
  8. Giulia Paiola5,
  9. Angela Michelucci6,
  10. Angela Cangiotti7,
  11. Diego Peroni1,
  12. Davide Caramella8,
  13. Attilio L Boner5
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
  2. 2Imperial College and Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council of Italy (IFC-CNR), Pisa, Italy
  4. 4Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University Hospital of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
  5. 5Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital of Verona, Verona, Italy
  6. 6Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, University Hospital of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
  7. 7Electron Microscopy Unit, University Hospital of Ancona, Ancona, Italy
  8. 8Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Massimo Pifferi, Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital of Pisa, Pisa 56126, Italy; m.pifferi{at}


Cilia have multiple functions including olfaction. We hypothesised that olfactory function could be impaired in primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD). Olfaction, nasal nitric oxide (nNO) and sinus CT were assessed in patients with PCD and non-PCD sinus disease, and healthy controls (no CT scan). PCD and non-PCD patients had similar severity of sinus disease. Despite this, defective olfaction was more common in patients with PCD (P<0.0001) and more severe in patients with PCD with major Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) abnormalities. Only in classical PCD did olfaction inversely correlate with sinusitis and nNO. We speculate that defective olfaction in PCD is primary in nature.

  • nasal nitric oxide
  • olfactory dysfunction
  • primary ciliary dyskinesia
  • sensory cilia
  • sinusitis

Statistics from


  • Contributors MPif, AB and ALB designed the study, analysed all data and wrote the manuscript. MR, AT, MDC, MPir, AC and AM collected the experimental data and contributed to data evaluation. DC collected the radiological data and contributed to data evaluation. FM and GP performed statistical analyses and contributed to data evaluation. DP contributed to interpretation of data and helped to draft the manuscript for important intellectual content. All authors approved the version of the manuscript to be submitted. All authors take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Hospital Ethical Committee of Pisa.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.