Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Penn Rhinology Lab


Sinonasal microbial biofilms are disease modifiers in chronic rhinosinusitis

Biofilms are aggregates of microorganisms that are intercalated in a complex film of glycocalyx matrix that fasten to inert and biologic surfaces. In the biomedical context they are felt to contribute to many chronic diseases as they allow for the evasion of host defenses (yet induce inflammation), manifest decreased susceptibility to antibiotic therapy, and deliberately release planktonic microbes, allowing implantation and population of new anatomic locations with microbes causing new acute infections in the host. Our group was the first to demonstrate biofilms in human sinuses and to correlate biofilm formation with increased severity of the chronic rhinosinusitis. This early work dovetails with the current work on taste-receptor-mediated innate immunity, as microbial quorum-sensing molecules (responsible for biofilm formation) are endogenous ligands for the bitter taste receptors.



Selected Publications:

  1. Zhang Z, Adappa ND, Chiu AG, Doghramji LJ, Cohen NA, Palmer JN. Biofilm-forming bacteria and quality of life improvement after sinus surgery. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2015 Jul;5(7):643-9. doi: 10.1002/alr.21505. Epub 2015 Mar 12. PubMed PMID: 25763837.
  2. Goldstein-Daruech N, Cope EK, Zhao KQ, Vukovic K, Kofonow JM, Doghramji L, González B, Chiu AG, Kennedy DW, Palmer JN, Leid JG, Kreindler JL, Cohen NA. Tobacco smoke mediated induction of sinonasal microbial biofilms. PLoS One. 2011 Jan 6;6(1):e15700. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015700. PubMed PMID: 21253587; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3017060.
  3. Hekiert AM, Kofonow JM, Doghramji L, Kennedy DW, Chiu AG, Palmer JN, Leid JG, Cohen NA. Biofilms correlate with TH1 inflammation in the sinonasal tissue of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009 Oct;141(4):448-53. doi: 10.1016/j.otohns.2009.06.090. PubMed PMID: 19786211.
  4. Prince AA, Steiger JD, Khalid AN, Dogrhamji L, Reger C, Eau Claire S, Chiu AG, Kennedy DW, Palmer JN, Cohen NA. Prevalence of biofilm-forming bacteria in chronic rhinosinusitis. Am J Rhinol. 2008 May-Jun;22(3):239-45. doi: 10.2500/ajr.2008.22.3180. PubMed PMID: 18588755.