Comparative studies on the histological characteristics of equine nasomaxillary aperture and paranasal sinus mucosa considering topographic and age-related differences
BACKGROUND: Horses may acquire a range of paranasal sinus diseases. Clinical studies show slight differences regarding anatomical regions and age. Histopathological examination of tissue samples could play an important role in the diagnostic process. Therefore, detailed knowledge of the histological appearance of the paranasal sinus mucosa (PSM) and the nasomaxillary aperture mucosa (NAM) is essential. The objective of this study was to determine topographic and age-related differences within the healthy equine PSM. In addition, we aimed to gain detailed knowledge of the histological appearance of the NAM in comparison to the PSM. RESULTS: The PSM had an average height of 75.72 ± 44.48 μm with a two-row pseudostratified columnar epithelium of 13.52 ± 4.78 μm. The parameters mucosal height, epithelial height and number of goblet cells revealed significant dependency of the sample site and age group. The maxillary and dorsal conchal sinus showed the highest values for these parameters. In terms of age, younger horses showed a significantly higher total mucosal height in contrast to a significantly lower epithelial height than older horses. Positive correlation was seen between the epithelial height and number of goblet cells. The NAM had an average height of 820.27 ± 653.21 μm. Its pseudostratified epithelium was usually arranged in three rows and had an average height of 44.9 ± 12.78 μm. The number of goblet cells in the NAM was five times higher than in the PSM. Serous glands were found in only 4% of the PSM samples and 100% of the NAM samples. CONCLUSIONS: There are significant histological differences between different paranasal sinus sites and between different groups of age. This may be related to an altered susceptibility for certain pathologies. The striking difference in the histological appearance of the NAM compared to the PSM could be due to an enhanced role in mucociliary clearance. Further studies are necessary to improve the understanding of mucosal function in specific paranasal sinus compartments and mucosal changes generated by different diseases.