Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is an inflammatory disease of the sinuses and mucosa with unclear pathogenesis. Interleukin (IL)-21 is mainly expressed in activated cluster of differentiation (CD)4= T cells and has potent regulatory effects on the immune system. Objective: This study is to determine whether IL-21 in the blood is correlated with CRS. Methods: The blood samples from CRS patients and normal controls were analyzed in correlation with clinical features. The eosinophil percentage was counted, and serum levels of total immunoglobulin E (IgE) and IL-21 were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In addition, IL-21 and interferon (IFN)-= secreted from stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were measured by ELISA, and their mRNA expression levels were analyzed by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Disease severity was scored based on computed tomography (CT) scan, nasal endoscopy, and global osteitis scoring scale (GOSS). Results: A total of 55 CRS and 37 healthy subjects were recruited. The average levels of serum total IgE were 20 kU/L in normal group, 290 kU/L in CRS with nasal polys (CRSwNP), and 187 kU/L in CRS without nasal polys (CRSsNP). IL-21 levels were 28 pg/mL in normal group, 54 pg/mL in CRSwNP, and 71 pg/mL in CRSsNP. Both IgE and IL-21 were significantly elevated in both CRS patient subgroups. However, no significant difference was found between these two patient subgroups. The serum IL-21 levels correlated well with the disease severity in the patients. In addition, the secreted IL-21 was enhanced significantly in the patient's PBMCs stimulated by phytohemagglutin (PHA). Conclusion: IL-21 could be a target for diagnosis and treatment of CRS.
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