Biofilms in chronic rhinosinusitis: A review

Michael Cohen, Jennifer Kofonow, Jaytakar V. Nayak, James N. Palmer, Alexander G. Chiu, Jeff G. Leid, Noam A. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Background: Bacterial biofilms consist of a complex, organized community of bacteria that anchor to both biotic and abiotic surfaces. They are composed of layers of embedded, live bacteria within extruded exopolymeric matrix. This configuration allows for evasion of host defenses and decreased susceptibility to antibiotic therapy while maintaining the ability to deliberately release planktonic bacteria, resulting in recurrent acute infections. Thus, bacterial biofilms were hypothesized to contribute to the progression and persistence of chronic rhinosinusitis. Methods: This review summarizes several of the seminal papers supporting this hypothesis. Results: Multiple reports using various imaging modalities have demonstrated the presence of biofilms in sinonasal mucosa of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. More recently, several studies have correlated the presence of biofilms with poor clinical outcomes in the disease process. Early therapeutic interventions have generated mixed results. Conclusions: Bacterial biofilms appear to contribute to the progression of chronic rhinosinusitis in a subset of patients, although substantial effort toward therapeutic intervention is still necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-260
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Biofilm
  • Chronic
  • Cilia
  • MBEC
  • Mucociliary clearance
  • Mucosa
  • Pseudomonas
  • Rhinosinusitis
  • SNOT-22

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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