Increased levels of nitric oxide have been found in expired air of patients with asthma, and these are thought to be related to the airway inflammatory events that characterize this disorder. Since, in adults, bronchial inflammatory changes are present even in mild disease, the present study was designed to evaluate whether a significant proportion of children with mild-intermittent asthma could have increased exhaled air NO concentrations. Twenty-two atopic children (aged 11.1±0.8 yrs) with mild- intermittent asthma, treated only with inhaled β2-adrenoreceptor agonists on demand and 22 age-matched controls were studied. NO concentrations in orally exhaled air, measured by chemiluminescence, were significantly higher in asthmatics, as compared to controls (19.4±3.3 parts per billion (ppb) and 4.0±0.5 ppb, respectively; p8.8 ppb (i.e. >2 standard deviations of the mean in controls). In asthmatic patients, but not in control subjects, statistically significant correlations were found between exhaled NO levels and absolute number or percentage of blood eosinophils (r=0.63 and 0.56, respectively; p1) or forced expiratory flows at 25-75% of vital capacity (FEF(25-75%)) or forced vital capacity (FVC), either in control subjects, or in asthmatic patients (p>0.1, each correlation). These results suggest that a significant proportion of children with mild-intermittent asthma may have airway inflammation, as shown by the presence of elevated levels of nitric oxide in the exhaled air. The clinical relevance of this observation remains to be established.
- Mild-intermittent asthma
- Nitric oxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine