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Penicillin reduces eustachian tube gland tissue changes in acute otitis media.

Author(s): Andersen H, Thomsen J, Caye-Thomasen P

Affiliation(s): Department of Oto-rhino-laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Gentofte University Hospital of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Publication date & source: 2005-08, Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg., 133(2):206-10.

Publication type: Comparative Study

OBJECTIVE: The volume of the mucous paratubal glands and the number of the mucus-producing goblet cells in the middle ear and Eustachian tube (ET) are increased after experimental acute otitis media (AOM). The present investigation examines a potential effect of penicillin on the changes in goblet cell density and gland structures of the ET during and after AOM. STUDY DESIGN: Middle ear inoculation of Streptococcus pneumoniae in 50 rats. Two days later, 25 rats were given penicillin V as one daily dose for 5 days. Twenty-five rats received no treatment. Five animals from each group were sacrificed on days 4, 8, 16, 90, and 180. The ET was dissected and decalcified, followed by paraffin embedding, serial transverse sectioning, and PAS/alcian blue staining. The goblet cell density and the paratubal gland composition and volume were determined in every 20th section, using a light microscope. RESULTS: Penicillin reduced the increase of goblet cell density from day 8 and through 6 months, whereas the increase of the paratubal mucous gland volume was unaffected by treatment. CONCLUSION: We conclude that penicillin reduces the increase of ET goblet cell density during and after acute otitis media, whereas the paratubal gland volume remains unaffected. An increased mucosal secretory capacity and indicated excessive secretion of mucus may contribute to the deteriorated ET function found after AOM and thus predispose, sustain, or aggravate middle ear disease. This may be prevented by penicillin treatment.

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