Olfactory cleft mucus proteome in chronic rhinosinusitis: a case-control pilot study

Zachary M. Soler, Rodney J. Schlosser, Jennifer K. Mulligan, Timothy L. Smith, Jess C. Mace, Vijay R. Ramakrishan, Kim Norris-Caneda, Jennifer R. Bethard, Lauren E. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Mechanisms of smell loss in chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) are still unclear and likely multifactorial. Little attention has been given to olfactory cleft (OC) mucus proteins involved in odorant binding and metabolizing enzymes and their potential role in smell loss. Methods: Mucus from the OC was sampled from patients with CRS (n = 20) and controls (n = 10). Liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry were performed, followed by data processing so that protein groups could be identified, quantified, and compared. Hierarchical clustering and bioinformatic analysis were performed on significantly different proteins to explore for enrichment in known biologic pathways. Results: A total of 2514 proteins were found in OC mucus from all 30 subjects. Significant differences in protein abundance were found between CRS and controls, including both CRSsNP (n = 351 proteins; log2 fold change range: –3.88 to 6.71) and CRSwNP (n = 298 proteins; log2 fold change range: –4.00 to –6.13). Significant differences were found between patients with normosmia and those with dysosmia (n = 183; log2 fold change range: –3.62 to –2.16) and across groups of interest for a number of odorant binding proteins and metabolizing enzymes. Conclusion: OC mucous in CRS displays a rich and abundant array of proteins, many of which have been implicated in odorant transport and metabolization in animal studies. Significant differences in the olfactory mucus proteome were seen between CRS subtypes and controls, as well as between those with normal and abnormal olfaction. Further study should confirm these findings and explore the role individual proteins play in odorant transport and metabolization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1162-1176
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Forum of Allergy and Rhinology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic disease
  • mass spectrometry
  • proteins
  • proteomics
  • sinusitis
  • smell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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