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Pediatr Pulmonol. 2009 Aug;44(8):812-9. doi: 10.1002/ppul.21071.

Environmental exposures, nitric oxide synthase genes, and exhaled nitric oxide in asthmatic children.

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Cincinnati Children's Environmental Health Center, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.


Exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), a measure of airway inflammation, is being explored as a tool to guide asthma management in children. Investigators have identified associations of genetic polymorphisms in nitric oxide synthase genes (NOS1 and NOS3) with FeNO levels; however, none have explored whether these polymorphisms modify the relationship of environmental exposures with FeNO. The objective of this project was to evaluate the association of NOS polymorphisms and environmental exposures with FeNO levels among children with asthma. We conducted a 12-month prospective cohort study of 225 tobacco-smoke exposed children (6-12 years) with doctor-diagnosed asthma. We assessed environmental exposures (tobacco, indoor allergens, & airborne particulates), polymorphisms in NOS1 (an intronic AAT tandem repeat) and NOS3 (G894T), and FeNO levels. There was no association of NOS1 or NOS3 polymorphisms with FeNO levels. There were no significant interactions of environmental exposures and the NOS1 polymorphism with FeNO levels. In contrast, there was an interaction of the NOS3 polymorphism and airborne nicotine concentration with FeNO levels (P = 0.01). Among GG genotype individuals, nicotine exposure did not affect FeNO levels; however, among individuals with at least one T allele, higher nicotine exposure was associated with lower FeNO levels (approximately 5 ppb decrease from the lowest to the highest quartile). We conclude that genetic differences may explain some of the conflicting results in studies of the effects of tobacco smoke exposure on FeNO levels and may make FeNO interpretation difficult for a subset of children with asthma.

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