White blood cells and chronic rhinosinusitis: a Mendelian randomization study

Thanai Pongdee, Suzette J. Bielinski, Paul A. Decker, Hirohito Kita, Nicholas B. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Risk factors for the pathogenesis of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) remain largely undetermined, which is likely due to the heterogeneity of the disease. White blood cell counts have been largely unexplored as a risk factor for CRS even though different types of white blood cells are involved in the inflammatory process of CRS. Objective: To investigate causal associations between different types of white blood cells on risk of CRS utilizing a Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis. Methods: A two-sample MR analysis was performed using respective GWAS summary statistics for the exposure traits (neutrophil count, eosinophil count, basophil count, lymphocyte count, and monocyte count) and outcome trait (CRS). For the exposure traits, the European Bioinformatics Institute database of complete GWAS summary data was used. For the outcome trait, summary statistics for CRS GWAS were obtained from FinnGen. Primary analysis for MR was performed using inverse-variance weighted two-sample MR. Sensitivity analyses included weighted median, MR-Egger, and MR-PRESSO (raw and outlier-corrected). Results: Eosinophils were associated with CRS (OR = 1.55 [95% CI 1.38, 1.73]; p = 4.3E-14). Eosinophil results were similar across additional MR methods. MR results did not demonstrate significant causal relationships between neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, or basophils with CRS. No significant pleiotropic bias was observed. Conclusions: In a two-sample MR analysis, a potential causal link between blood eosinophil counts and CRS has been demonstrated. In addition, causal relationships between blood counts among other white blood cell types and CRS were not found. Further studies involving genetic variation in CRS are needed to corroborate genetic causal effects for CRS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number98
JournalAllergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Chronic rhinosinusitis
  • Count
  • Eosinophil
  • Genetics
  • Mendelian randomization
  • Neutrophil
  • Risk
  • Sinusitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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