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Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Feb 15;28(4):514-9.

Methods for measuring ethane and pentane in expired air from rats and humans.

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Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Numerous studies in animals and humans provide evidence that ethane and pentane in expired air are useful markers of in vivo lipid peroxidation. The measurement of breath hydrocarbons, being noninvasive, is well suited for routine use in research and clinical settings. However, the lack of standardized methods for collecting, processing, and analyzing expired air has resulted in the use of a wide variety of different methods that have yielded highly disparate results among investigators. This review outlines the methods that we have developed and validated for measuring ethane and pentane in expired air from rats and humans. We describe the advantages of these methods, their performance, as well as potential errors that can be introduced during sample collection, concentration, and analysis. A main source of error involves contamination with ambient-air ethane and pentane, the concentrations of which are usually much greater and more variable than those in expired air. Thus, it appears that the effective removal of ambient-air hydrocarbons from the subject's lungs before collection is an important step in standardizing the collection procedure. Also discussed is whether ethane or pentane is a better marker of in vivo lipid peroxidation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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