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Rhinology. 1998 Sep;36(3):117-21.

Nasal nitric oxide and its relationship to nasal symptoms, smoking and nasal nitrate.

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  • 1Section of Occupational Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.


Nitric oxide (NO) is produced in the nasal mucosa and in the paranasal sinuses. Increased nasal NO concentrations have been found in patients with asthma and/or rhinitis, and nasal NO has been suggested to be a marker of nasal inflammation. Measuring the stable end products of NO, nitrate and nitrite in nasal lavage fluid have been proposed as an indirect method for measuring NO concentration. The aim of this study was to measure nasal NO concentration, and to find out its relationship to nasal nitrate concentration and clinical parameters. 73 paper-mill workers were investigated with nasal and exhaled NO, nitrate in nasal lavage fluid and were given a respiratory questionnaire. Nasal air was sampled directly from a nasal mask and NO concentration was measured with a chemiluminescence analyser. Exhaled NO was measured with the subjects breathing tidal volumes and wearing nose clips. The nitric oxide metabolites were analysed as nitrate, after reduction of nitrite to nitrate. Smokers had lower nasal NO concentration (264 ppb) as compared to NO concentrations of 340 ppb among non-smokers (p = 0.02). There was no statistically significant relationship between nasal NO concentration and nitrate in nasal lavage fluid or nasal symptoms. Nasal NO concentration was significantly related to FVC (p = 0.047) and there was a relationship with borderline statistical significance (p = 0.06) to FEV1. In conclusion, we found no relationship between nitrate in nasal lavage and nasal NO, and neither of these were correlated to nasal symptoms or to nasal PIF. Nasal NO was significantly lower among smokers. Further controlled studies on subjects with rhinitis are needed, to evaluate the relation between nasal NO and nasal inflammation. In addition, there is also a need to develop methods for measuring nasal NO that minimise contamination from sinuses.

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