Study Suggests Treatment Target for Enlarged Tonsils

Phosphoserine phosphatase more abundantly expressed in tonsils of children with sleep apnea

FRIDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Phosphoserine phosphatase (PSPH) may play a role in tonsil enlargement in children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and may serve as a target for treating this enlargement, according to research published online Jan. 21 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Abdelnaby Khalyfa, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues analyzed data from 18 children with recurrent tonsillar infection and 18 with OSA who underwent tonsillectomy. Tissue was used in a genome-wide expression analysis, and the authors narrowed their focus on PSPH, which was more abundantly expressed in children with OSA.

The researchers found that exposing cell cultures from the OSA tonsils and adenoids to the phosphatase inhibitor calyculin resulted in reduced cellular proliferation and a higher rate of programmed cell death. Treatment with calyculin led to cell death in approximately 86 percent of T cells and 71 percent of B cells.

"We used several strategies to target PSPH expression and activity in adenotonsillar primary cell cultures, including pharmacological and siRNA inhibition (data not shown), resulting in significant anti-proliferative effects specifically in cell cultures derived from children with OSA. Furthermore, inhibition of PSPH appears to promote programmed cell death in tonsillar cell cultures. Together, these observations suggest that PSPH is a logical therapeutic target in reversing the adenotonsillar enlargement of pediatric OSA," the authors write.

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