Cellular and Molecular Biology


Comparative cytokeratin distribution patterns in cholesteatoma epithelium

E. Olszewska1 and H. Sudhoff2

1Department of Otolaryngology Medical University of Bialystok, Poland and 2Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, St. Elisabeth Hospital, University of Bochum, Bochum, Germany

Offprint requests to: Dr. Ewa Olszewska, Department of Otolaryngology, Medical University, ul. Sklodowskiej 24 A, 15-274 Bialystok, Poland. e-mail: ewaolsz@yahoo.com

Summary. Cytokeratins (CKs) are known as the intermediate filament proteins of epithelial origin. Their distribution in human epithelia is different according to the type of epithelium, state of growth and differentiation. We used monoclonal mouse antibodies against cytokeratins to study CK expression in the following human tissues: cholesteatoma, middle ear mucosa, glandular epithelium, and meatal ear canal epithelium. Immunohistochemical processing was performed using the labeled steptavidin peroxidase method to demonstrate the presence of CKs in cells of human epidermis. Positive reaction was obtained for CK4, CK34ßE12, CK10, CK14 in skin and cholesteatoma epithelium. However, a more extensive positive reaction with those CKs was observed in cholesteatoma epithelium. Positive immunoreactivity was seen with anti- CK19 in the glandular epithelium. Middle ear mucosa specimens revealed positive immunoreactivity with the antibodies against CK4. The expression of CK4 was definitely positive within the basal layers of the epidermis. The glandular epithelium showed no positive reaction with anti- CK4, anti- CK34ßE12, anti- CK14 and anti-CK10. Immunohistochemistry for CK18 showed no reaction in all examined tissues. Cholesteatoma is known as a proliferative disease in the middle ear which pathogenesis is not completely understood. Keratinocytes express hyperproliferation- associated CKs and after reaching the suprabasal layers they finally undergo apoptosis creating keratinous debris. Cytokeratin expression observed in the epithelium explains proliferative behavior of cholesteatoma which is associated with increased keratinocyte migration. Cytokeratins can be used as potential proliferative markers. It can also allow for searching the usefulness of inhibiting regulators in the treatment of hyperproliferative diseases. Histol Histopathol 22, 37-42 (2007)

Key words: Cytokeratins, Immunohistochemistry, Epithelium, Epidermis