Interaction Between Allergy and Middle Ear Infection

Otitis (DP Skoner, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s11882-016-0646-1

Cite this article as:
Oh, JH. & Kim, W.J. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep (2016) 16: 66. doi:10.1007/s11882-016-0646-1
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Otitis


Purpose of Review

Recent studies have attempted to identify interactions among the causes of otitis media with effusion (OME). This review discusses the interaction between allergy and infection with regard to host and environmental factors in terms of the development of OME.

Recent Findings

Protection of the upper airway against microbial invasion requires active interaction between the defense mechanisms of the respiratory epithelium, including innate and adaptive immunity, and mechanical factors. The impairment of these defenses due to allergy and/or increased bacterial resistance may lead to increased susceptibility to infectious organisms in the respiratory tract and middle ear mucosa. Recent genetic studies have provided valuable information about the association of Toll-like receptor signaling variations with clinical phenotypes and the risk of infection in the middle ear.


Among the causal factors of OME, allergy not only induces an inflammatory reaction in the middle ear cavity but also facilitates the invasion of infectious pathogens. There is also evidence that allergy can affect the susceptibility of patients to infection of the upper respiratory tract, including the middle ear cavity.


Otitis media with effusion Allergy Infection Innate immunity Acquired immunity 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, St. Paul’s HospitalThe Catholic University of KoreaDongdaemun-guRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, Seoul St. Mary’s HospitalThe Catholic University of KoreaSeocho-guRepublic of Korea

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