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Vascul Pharmacol. 2005 Dec;43(6):379-84. Epub 2005 Oct 10.

Assaying all of the nitrogen oxides in breath modifies the interpretation of exhaled nitric oxide.

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Division of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine, Asthma and Allergic Diseases Center, Box 800386, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


Exhaled nitric oxide (NO) assays measure the quantity of NO that emanates from the airway, not the amount of NO that is formed. Consumptive processes-including oxidation reactions-decrease the amount of gas phase NO available for exhalation. Higher oxides of nitrogen (HiNO(x)) are resulting reaction products, and are easily measured in exhaled breath condensate (EBC). We performed concurrent sampling of exhaled breath for gas phase NO and EBC HiNO(x) in controls and stable asthmatics. We identified that, mole for mole, asthma patients hourly exhale more HiNO(x) than they do NO, with a HiNO(x)/NO ratio of 1.21 (0.54-3.4). This is the reverse of the ratio found in controls, in whom the HiNO(x)/NO ratio was 0.75 (0.44-0.93), p=0.04. The sum of the hourly molar exhalation of NO and HiNO(x) was significantly higher in asthmatics (333 nmol/h (221-543) than controls (179 (138-231), p<0.001). We conclude that exhaled oxides of nitrogen are more informative when measured together as opposed to in isolation. We suggest that inflammation can be better evaluated with HiNO(x) and NO measured concurrently, and that the level of oxidation in the lung can be evaluated by comparing the easily measured ratios of HiNO(x) to NO in the exhaled breath.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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