The Morphological Interaction Between the Nasal Cavity and Maxillary Sinuses in Living Humans.

Summary of "The Morphological Interaction Between the Nasal Cavity and Maxillary Sinuses in Living Humans."

To understand how variation in nasal architecture accommodates the need for effective conditioning of respired air, it is necessary to assess the morphological interaction between the nasal cavity and other aspects of the nasofacial skeleton. Previous studies indicate that the maxillary sinuses may play a key role in accommodating climatically induced nasal variation such that a decrease in nasal cavity volume is associated with a concomitant increase in maxillary sinus volume. However, due to conflicting results in previous studies, the precise interaction of the nasal cavity and maxillary sinuses, in humans, is unclear. This is likely due to the prior emphasis on nasal cavity size, whereas arguably, nasal cavity shape is more important with regard to the interaction with the maxillary sinuses. Using computed tomography scans of living human subjects (N=40), the goal of this study is to assess the interaction between nasal cavity form and maxillary sinus volume in European- and African-derived individuals with differences in nasal cavity morphology. First, we assessed whether there is an inverse relationship between nasal cavity and maxillary sinus volumes. Next, we examined the relationship between maxillary sinus volume and nasal cavity shape using multivariate regression. Our results show that there is a positive relationship between nasal cavity and maxillary sinus volume, indicating that the maxillary sinuses do not accommodate variation in nasal cavity size. However, maxillary sinus volume is significantly correlated with variation in relative internal nasal breadth. Thus, the maxillary sinuses appear to be important for accommodating nasal cavity shape rather than size. Anat Rec, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Department of Orthodontics, University of Iowa, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa; Department of Anthropology, University of Iowa, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007)
ISSN: 1932-8494


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Air-filled spaces located within the bones around the NASAL CAVITY. They are extensions of the nasal cavity and lined by the ciliated NASAL MUCOSA. Each sinus is named for the cranial bone in which it is located, such as the ETHMOID SINUS; the FRONTAL SINUS; the MAXILLARY SINUS; and the SPHENOID SINUS.

The air space located in the body of the MAXILLARY BONE near each cheek. Each maxillary sinus communicates with the middle passage (meatus) of the NASAL CAVITY on the same side.

Fluid obtained by irrigation or washout of the nasal cavity and NASAL MUCOSA. The resulting fluid is used in cytologic and immunologic assays of the nasal mucosa such as with the NASAL PROVOCATION TEST in the diagnosis of nasal hypersensitivity.

The scroll-like bony plates with curved margins on the lateral wall of the NASAL CAVITY. Turbinates, also called nasal concha, increase the surface area of nasal cavity thus providing a mechanism for rapid warming and humidification of air as it passes to the lung.

A part of the upper respiratory tract. It contains the organ of SMELL. The term includes the external nose, the nasal cavity, and the PARANASAL SINUSES.

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