Background: Increased expression of cysteinyl leukotriene receptors (cysteinyl leukotriene receptor-1 [LT1-R]; cysteinyl leukotriene receptor-2 [LT2-R]) has been detected in adenotonsillar tissue from children with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) compared to control subjects. LT1-R has been localized in myeloperoxidase-positive cells. This phenomenon possibly contributes to lymphoid tissue enlargement and may be related to systemic inflammation.
Objective: To characterize cells expressing LT1-R and LT2-R in tonsillar tissue and assess serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in children with and without SDB.
Methods: Immunohistochemistry with LT1-R and LT2-R antibodies was used to examine tonsils from children who had tonsillectomy (with or without adenoidectomy) for SDB and from control subjects operated for recurrent tonsillitis/otitis. All participants underwent preoperative polysomnography and measurement of morning serum CRP.
Results: Fifteen children with SDB (mean age ± SD, 6.4 ± 2.1 years; apnea-hypopnea index, 9.6 ± 5.6 episodes per hour) and 11 control subjects (age, 7.5 ± 2.8 years; apnea-hypopnea index, 7 ± 0.3/h) were examined. Immunoreactivity for LT1-R and LT2-R was detected in tonsillar extrafollicular areas of all subjects with SDB but not of control subjects. Cells expressing leukotriene receptors were CD3+ lymphocytes. Children with SDB and control subjects were similar regarding CRP levels: 0.11 ± 0.15 mg/dL vs 0.09 ± 0.15 mg/dL, respectively (p > 0.05).
Conclusions: Tonsils of children with SDB but not of control subjects have enhanced expression of cysteinyl leukotriene receptors in T lymphocytes without an associated increase in serum CRP concentration. Up-regulation of LT1-R and LT2-R could potentially promote tonsillar enlargement in children with obstructive sleep apnea.