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Johns Hopkins researchers track down protein responsible for chronic rhinosinusitis with polyps
Date:11/22/2009

ins colleagues have long studied sinusitis, often growing sinus cells isolated from patients in petri dishes. After noticing that cells from patients with polyps typically multiplied faster than cells from normal patients, the researchers speculated that cells from polyp patients might be producing extra amounts of some type of growth factor, a protein that encourages cell growth.

To identify which growth factor might be to blame, the researchers had sinusitis patients with and without polyps rinse their sinus passages with a wash solution, then tested the runoff for the presence of various growth factors. They found that solution from patients with polyps contained high amounts of a substance called vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, a protein important for normal blood vessel growth that also seems to play a key role in a variety of diseases, including cancer. The more VEGF they found in a cell culture, the faster those cells grew.

To further examine whether this protein is present not only in the sinus passages but also in the sinus tissue, Kim and her colleagues used a stain that highlights VEGF on sinus tissue removed from polyp-producing patients and those with other types of sinusitis. The stained tissue from polyp patients "lit up very dramatically, like a city skyline," Kim says, while the tissue from other patients showed little to no staining.

Though these results confirmed that the sinuses of patients with polyps were overproducing VEGF, the researchers still weren't sure that VEGF was instigating cell overgrowth seen in polyps. Looking for a cause-and-effect relationship, Kim and her team treated cells isolated from sinusitis patients with agents that inhibit VEGF production and action. The cells from polyp-producing patients slowed their growth rate to match that of normal patients.

"It's a strong indicator that VEGF is indeed responsible for the over-exuberant cell growth that contributes to polyp develo
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Contact: Christen Brownlee
cbrownlee@jhmi.edu
410-955-7832
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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