Primary atrophic rhinitis is a chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa characterized by atrophy of the mucous and bony tissue of the turbinates and by a thick, dense secretion, which quickly forms a characteristically fetid-smelling, greenish crust. We report the results of the clinical, genetic and immunologic investigations performed on eight subjects (three with ozena and five asymptomatic), members of the same familial group. The presence of the disease in the family fits well with dominant inheritance. All the culture specimens from the patients affected by ozena were positive for Klebsiella ozaenae, and one of them was also positive for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. All the three patients with ozena and two of the five apparently unaffected family members were positive for antinuclear antibodies. Immunoblotting showed a reactivity to a 50-kD protein, which was not identified by the common, recognized nuclear autoantigens. This was present in one of the three patients and three of the five other family members. Positivity for IgG-class anticardiolipins was correlated with disease manifestation in that it was found in two of the three patients and only in one of the five asymptomatic family members. The hypothesis of a genetic factor that could drive the chronicity of the inflammatory pattern of a pre-existing infectious nasal disease is suggested.
- Atrophic rhinitis
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