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Pediatr Pulmonol. 1997 Nov;24(5):305-11.

Comparison of exhaled nitric oxide, serum eosinophilic cationic protein, and soluble interleukin-2 receptor in exacerbations of pediatric asthma.

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1
Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, CO 80206, USA.

Abstract

The hypotheses tested in this study were that during acute asthma exacerbations (1) exhaled nitric oxide concentrations [eNO] are a more sensitive, noninvasive indicator of asthma disease activity than serum markers of inflammation such as eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) or soluble interleukin 2 receptor (sIL2R), and (2) elevated [eNO] are reduced after treatment with glucocorticoids (GC). Peak eNO levels were measured by chemiluminescence during slow expiration. Seven asthmatic subjects (mean age 11 yrs; mean morning FEV1 65% predicted) receiving inhaled GC, and with no radiographic evidence of acute sinusitis, were studied before and after a course of oral GC. Measurements of [eNO], ECP and sIL2R levels, and FEV1% were obtained before and after a course of GC. Six atopic nonasthmatic subjects (mean age 12 years; mean FEV1 94% predicted) and seven normal subjects (mean age 13 years; mean FEV1 100% predicted) were studied. The mean peak [eNO] level (parts per billion: ppb) for the asthma subjects before treatment (52 +/- 5 ppb SEM) was greater than the value for both nonasthmatic atopic and normal subjects (16 +/- 2 ppb and 14 +/- 2 ppb SEM, respectively; P < 0.0001). There was no significant difference in ECP or sIL2R values between asthmatic subjects and either atopic or normal subjects (P > 0.05). Baseline pre-GC treatment ECP levels in the asthmatic subjects were significantly higher (P < 0.002) than post-GC treatment values. The mean peak [eNO] level in the asthmatic subjects declined after oral GC treatment to 14 +/- 1 ppb (P < 0.0002) and was less than 2 ppb different from either control group (P > 0.75). We conclude that [eNO] is a more sensitive marker of asthma disease activity than ECP and sIL2R levels. In addition, [eNO] appears to be a more useful indicator of the beneficial response to GC therapy than these other measurements in pediatric asthma.

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