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Upregulation of COX-1 and COX-2 in nasal polyps in cystic fibrosis
  1. J Roca-Ferrer1,
  2. L Pujols1,
  3. S Gartner2,
  4. A Moreno2,
  5. F Pumarola3,
  6. J Mullol1,4,
  7. N Cobos2,
  8. C Picado5
  1. 1Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2Unidad de Fibrosis Quística, Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3Servei d’Otorrinolaringologia, Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain
  4. 4Servei d’Otorrinolaringologia, Hospital Clinic, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  5. 5Servei de Pneumologia, Hospital Clínic, Departament de Medicina, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr C Picado
    Servei de Pneumologia, Hospital Clínic, Villarroel 170, 08036 Barcelona, Spain; cpicado{at}


Background: Since abnormalities in prostanoid metabolism occur in the lower airway of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), it is likely that they could also be detected in the nose.

Methods: The degree of mRNA and protein expression of cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes 1 (COX-1) and 2 (COX-2) was examined using quantitative reverse competitive polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blot analysis in the nasal polyps from 10 patients with CF, nasal polyps from 10 non-CF patients and 11 nasal mucosa specimens. The results are presented as 106 cDNA molecules/μg total RNA and the densitometric ratio between protein and β-actin.

Results: COX-1 mRNA levels were significantly higher in CF nasal polyps (median 2.34, 25–75th percentiles 1.6–3.2) than in the nasal mucosa (0.78, 0.11–1.21), while there was no difference with non-CF nasal polyps (1.11, 0.80–3.15). COX-1 protein levels were significantly higher in CF nasal polyps (3.63, 2.71–4.27) than in nasal mucosa (1.55, 0.66–2.33) and non-CF nasal polyps (2.19, 1.72–3.68). COX-2 mRNA was significantly higher in CF nasal polyps (3.34, 2.42–7.05) than in nasal mucosa (1.69, 0.19–3.50). No differences were found in COX-2 mRNA expression between CF and non-CF polyps (1.38, 0.12–6.07). COX-2 protein levels were also significantly higher in CF nasal polyps (0.23, 0.04–0.34) than in non-CF nasal polyps (0.011, 0.009–0.016) or nasal mucosa (0.014, 0.014–0.016).

Conclusions: Upregulation in the expression of COX-1 and COX-2 could explain the high production of prostanoids reported in CF. These findings raise questions regarding the potential use of selective or non-selective COX-2 non-steroidal anti-inflammatory treatment in CF.

  • BAL, bronchoalveolar lavage
  • CF, cystic fibrosis
  • IL, interleukin
  • NSAID, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  • PG, prostaglandin
  • TNF-α, tumour necrosis factor α
  • cystic fibrosis
  • nasal polyp
  • cyclo-oxygenase
  • COX-1
  • COX-2
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  • Published Online First 3 March 2006

  • This study was supported by grants from Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias (FIS 00-0802), La Marató TV3 and Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (SAF-2002-04431-C02-01) Red RESPIRA (Fis, V-2003-REDC11D-0).

  • Competing interests: none declared.

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