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Sunday 01 April 2001

Acute changes in bronchoconstriction influences exhaled nitric oxide level.

By: Mitsufuji H, Kobayashi H, Imasaki T, Ichikawa T, Kawakami T, Tomita T.

Jpn J Physiol 2001 Apr;51(2):151-7

In previous studies the exhaled nitric oxide (NO) level of asthma patients was investigated only in association with bronchial inflammation, and whether the degree of bronchoconstriction itself influences the exhaled NO level has never been investigated. We therefore evaluated the effect of inhalation of a bronchoconstrictor (methacholine) or a bronchodilator (salbutamol) on the exhaled NO level of healthy volunteers and asthma patients. The exhaled NO level of the healthy volunteers decreased after methacholine inhalation. The exhaled NO level of patients with mild or moderate persistent asthma, who had no asthma attacks on the day of measurement, increased after salbutamol inhalation, and the exhaled NO level of asthma patients during asthma attacks increased after salbutamol inhalation followed by intravenous drip infusion of aminophylline. It is suspected that large amounts of NO are trapped in the lung distal to the constricted airway, contributing little to the exhaled NO level at the mouth. However, we expect that the trapped NO is exhaled at a larger fraction after the dilatation of the constricted small airway, thereby increasing the exhaled NO level at the mouth. In conclusion, the results of this study suggest that acute changes in bronchoconstriction themselves influence the exhaled NO level independently of the change in NO synthase activity associated with airway inflammation.

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