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An evaluation of the alternative pathway of complement was undertaken in patients with otitis media with effusion (OME). Middle ear fluid (MEF) and serum specimens were obtained from 34 patients at the time of elective myringotomy for OME. Bacterial, viral and mycoplasma cultures were made for all specimens of the fluids. Immunochemical determinations by radial immunodiffusion were performed for C3, C5, factor B, properdin, factor H, factor I, and albumin. Each patient's recent clinical course and past history were reviewed. The results of all viral and mycoplasma cultures were negative. Three of 55 bacterial cultures were positive for type B Haemophilus influenzae. All components of the alternative pathway measured were found to be present in varying amounts in MEF. When the levels of the complement components were compared to the clinical factors studied, there were no observable differences. These data suggest that components of the alternative pathway of complement are present in OME and are not useful in predicting the clinical course or outcome of this disorder.

Original publication




Journal article


Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Publication Date





607 - 611