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Variations in the ultrastructure of human nasal cilia including abnormalities found in retinitis pigmentosa.
  1. B Fox,
  2. T B Bull,
  3. G B Arden


    The electron microscopic structure of cilia from the inferior turbinate of the nose was studied in 12 adults, four with chronic sinusitis, one with allergic rhinitis, two with bronchiectasis, three with deviated nasal septum, and two normals. The changes are compared with those found in nasal cilia in 14 patients with retinitis pigmentosa. There were compound cilia in the seven cases with chronic sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, and bronchiectasis but, apart from this, the structure of the cilia was similar in all 12 cases. There were variations in the microtubular pattern in about 4% of cilia, dynein arms were not seen in 4%, and in the rest an average of 5-6 dynein arms were seen in each cilium. The orientation of the cilia was 0 to 90 degrees. In the retinitis pigmentosa patients there was a highly significant increase in cilial abnormalities. The establishment on a quantitative basis of the variations in normal structure of nasal cilila facilitated the recognition of an association between cilial abnormalities and retinitis pigmentosa and should help in the identification of associations that may exist between cilial abnormalities and other diseases.

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