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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2012 Jan 15;180(1):40-4. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2011.10.008. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Exhaled nitric oxide is associated with acute mountain sickness susceptibility during exposure to normobaric hypoxia.

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School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, 6081 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1.


Nitric oxide is a gaseous signaling molecule that participates in a large variety of physiological functions and may have a role in the pathology of altitude illnesses, such as acute mountain sickness (AMS). The effect of normobaric hypoxia on the fraction of exhaled NO ( [Formula: see text] ) is a controversial area of high altitude physiology, with the effect varying widely across studies. We exposed 19 male subjects to normobaric hypoxia for 6h and measured [Formula: see text] and AMS (via Lake Louise Score) each hour. For data analysis, subjects were divided into AMS-positive and AMS-negative groups based on their Lake Louise Scores during exposure. Eighteen subjects completed the study, and the incidence of AMS was 50%. Mean [Formula: see text] was unchanged at hour 1 but was significantly elevated above baseline for the remainder of the normobaric hypoxia exposure (p<0.001). Subjects who developed AMS had a significantly lower mean [Formula: see text] at baseline compared to resistant subjects (p=0.013). Further investigations are warranted to confirm our results and to understand the physiological basis of this association.

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