Pathogenesis of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps: role of IL-6 in airway epithelial cell dysfunction

Emilie Bequignon, David Mangin, Justine Bécaud, Jennifer Pasquier, Christelle Angely, Mathieu Bottier, Estelle Escudier, Daniel Isabey, Marcel Filoche, Bruno Louis, Jean François Papon, André Coste

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BACKGROUND: Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) is characterized by an alteration in airway epithelial cell functions including barrier function, wound repair mechanisms, mucociliary clearance. The mechanisms leading to epithelial cell dysfunction in nasal polyps (NPs) remain poorly understood. Our hypothesis was that among the inflammatory cytokines involved in NPs, IL-6 could alter epithelial repair mechanisms and mucociliary clearance. The aim of this study was to evaluate the in vitro effects of IL-6 on epithelial repair mechanisms in a wound repair model and on ciliary beating in primary cultures of Human Nasal Epithelial Cells (HNEC). METHODS: Primary cultures of HNEC taken from 38 patients during surgical procedures for CRSwNP were used in an in vitro model of wound healing. Effects of increasing concentrations of IL-6 (1 ng/mL, 10 ng/mL, and 100 ng/mL) and other ILs (IL-5, IL-9, IL-10) on wound closure kinetics were compared to cultures without IL-modulation. After wound closure, the differentiation process was characterized under basal conditions and after IL supplementation using cytokeratin-14, MUC5AC, and βIV tubulin as immunomarkers of basal, mucus, and ciliated cells, respectively. The ciliated edges of primary cultures were analyzed on IL-6 modulation by digital high-speed video-microscopy to measure: ciliary beating frequency (CBF), ciliary length, relative ciliary density, metachronal wavelength and the ciliary beating efficiency index. RESULTS: Our results showed that: (i) IL-6 accelerated airway wound repair in vitro, with a dose-response effect whereas no effect was observed after other ILs-stimulation. After 24 h, 79% of wounded wells with IL6-100 were fully repaired, vs 46% in the IL6-10 group, 28% in the IL6-1 group and 15% in the control group; (ii) specific migration analyses of closed wound at late repair stage (Day 12) showed IL-6 had the highest migration compared with other ILs (iii) The study of the IL-6 effect on ciliary function showed that CBF and metachronal wave increased but without significant modifications of ciliary density, length of cilia and efficiency index. CONCLUSION: The up-regulated epithelial cell proliferation observed in polyps could be induced by IL-6 in the case of prior epithelial damage. IL-6 could be a major cytokine in NP physiopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of translational medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2020



  • Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP)
  • Epithelial cell
  • IL-6
  • IL-9
  • Inflammation
  • Interleukin 6
  • Mucociliary clearance
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Repair mechanisms
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Bequignon, E., Mangin, D., Bécaud, J., Pasquier, J., Angely, C., Bottier, M., Escudier, E., Isabey, D., Filoche, M., Louis, B., Papon, J. F., & Coste, A. (2020). Pathogenesis of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps: role of IL-6 in airway epithelial cell dysfunction. Journal of translational medicine, 18(1).