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March 1990

Analysis of Immunocompetent Cells in the Middle Ear Mucosa

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, Medical College of Oita (Japan).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1990;116(3):324-330. doi:10.1001/archotol.1990.01870030088015

• A quantitative analysis of immunocompetent cells in the middle ear mucosa of mice was carried out by an indirect immunostaining method using various monoclonal antibodies. Mice bred in germfree, specific pathogen-free, and conventional conditions were used to examine nonimmunized middle ear mucosa. Middle ear mucosae of otitis media-induced mice were also examined. In normal middle ear mucosa, mast cells were substantial, followed by Mac-1–positive cells and lymphocytes. Even though IgA-, IgM-, and Lyt-1–positive cells were seen in the mucosa of conventional mice, IgM-positive cells were seen only in mucosae of specific pathogen—free and germ—free mice. In otitis media-induced mice by inoculation with nontypable Haemophilus influenzae or lipopolysaccharide, Mac-1–positive cells were dominant. Although the numbers of IgM- and Lyt-1–positive cells increased markedly, the numbers of other lymphocyte subsets did not increase until 14 days after inoculation. These findings suggest that the middle ear is immunologically a potential organ as long as it is not exposed to antigenic stimulation. It is considered to be an immunoreactive site only after it has been activated with pathogens.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1990;116:324-330)