Background - Bronchial hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation are distinctive features of asthma. Evaluation of nitric oxide (NO) levels in expired air have been proposed as a reliable method for assessing the airway inflammatory events in asthmatic subjects. A study was undertaken to evaluate whether airway hyperresponsiveness is related to levels of exhaled NO. Methods - Thirty two steroid-naive atopic children with mild intermittent asthma of mean (SD) age 11.8 (2.3) years and 28 age matched healthy controls were studied to investigate whether baseline lung function or airway hyperresponsiveness is related to levels of exhaled NO. Airway responsiveness was assessed as the dose of methacholine causing a 20% decrease in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV 1) from control (PD 20 methacholine) and exhaled NO levels were measured by chemiluminescence analysis of exhaled air. Results - At baseline asthmatic children had significantly higher NO levels than controls (mean difference 25.87 ppb (95% CI 18.91 to 32.83); p <0.0001) but there were no significant differences in lung function parameters (forced vital capacity (FVC), FEV 1 (% pred), and forced expiratory flows at 25-75% of vital capacity (FEF(25-75%))). In the asthmatic group exhaled NO levels were not significantly correlated with baseline lung function values or PD 20 methacholine. Conclusions - These results suggest that levels of exhaled NO are not accurate predictors of the degree of airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine in children with mild intermittent asthma.
- Airway inflammation
- Exhaled nitric oxide
- Lung function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine