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Concept: Exhaled nitric oxide


Major depressive disorder may be due to psychoneuroimmunological dysfunction, as studies have documented increased levels of a variety of inflammatory mediators in depressed subjects. Nitric oxide (NO) is marker of inflammation, and fractional exhaled NO (FeNO) is a marker of airway inflammation. Plasma NO and FeNO levels have been shown to be lower in subjects with depression in small studies. We sought to assess the association of depression with C-reactive protein (CRP) and FeNO levels in a large and representative sample of the US population.

Concepts: Inflammation, Nitric oxide, Bipolar disorder, Major depressive disorder, Seasonal affective disorder, C-reactive protein, Types of psychological depression, Exhaled nitric oxide


Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and airway inflammation are key pathophysiological features of asthma. Bronchial provocation tests (BPTs) are objective tests for AHR that are clinically useful to aid in the diagnosis of asthma in both adults and children. BPTs can be either “direct” or “indirect,” referring to the mechanism by which a stimulus mediates bronchoconstriction. Direct BPTs refer to the administration of pharmacological agonist (e.g., methacholine or histamine) that act on specific receptors on the airway smooth muscle. Airway inflammation and/or airway remodeling may be key determinants of the response to direct stimuli. Indirect BPTs are those in which the stimulus causes the release of mediators of bronchoconstriction from inflammatory cells (e.g., exercise, allergen, mannitol). Airway sensitivity to indirect stimuli is dependent upon the presence of inflammation (e.g., mast cells, eosinophils), which responds to treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Thus, there is a stronger relationship between indices of steroid-sensitive inflammation (e.g., sputum eosinophils, fraction of exhaled nitric oxide) and airway sensitivity to indirect compared to direct stimuli. Regular treatment with ICS does not result in the complete inhibition of responsiveness to direct stimuli. AHR to indirect stimuli identifies individuals that are highly likely to have a clinical improvement with ICS therapy in association with an inhibition of airway sensitivity following weeks to months of treatment with ICS. To comprehend the clinical utility of direct or indirect stimuli in either diagnosis of asthma or monitoring of therapeutic intervention requires an understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of AHR and mechanisms of action of both stimuli.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Asthma, Allergy, Mast cell, Histamine, Nitric oxide, Exhaled nitric oxide


Over a quarter of the US population qualify as excessive alcohol consumers. Alcohol use impacts several lung diseases and heavy consumption has been associated with poor clinical outcomes. The fractional excretion of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) has clinical implications in multiple airway diseases. We hypothesized that excessive alcohol intake is associated with lower FeNO levels.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Pulmonology, Poverty, Nitric oxide, Alcoholic beverage, Beer, Exhaled nitric oxide, French Quarter


Fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (Feno) and blood eosinophil count (B-Eos) values, markers of local and systemic eosinophilic inflammation, respectively, are increased in asthmatic patients. Little is known about the relation of these markers to reported wheeze and asthma events in a random population sample.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Asthma, Blood vessel, Obesity, Nitric oxide, Exhaled nitric oxide, Wheeze


This article focuses on recent data which highlight the clinical settings in which exhaled nitric oxide (F(E)NO) is potentially helpful, or not, as a clinical tool. It is becoming clearer that, selectively applied, F(E)NO measurements can provide reliable clinical guidance, particularly when values are low. Such values are associated with high negative predictive values (>90%). Increased F(E)NO levels are associated with much more modest positive predictive values (75%-85%) and these are less reliable. These general principles apply when diagnosing steroid responsiveness in relation to asthma, chronic cough, and COPD. Although randomised trials do not support routine use of exhaled NO measurements in uncomplicated bronchial asthma, there is evidence that in patients with difficult asthma, or asthma associated with pregnancy, F(E)NO enhances overall management, and the decision to commence or increase inhaled steroid therapy (yes/no) may be made more accurately. Exhaled NO is potentially relevant in the assessment of occupational asthma (serial measurements) and also in diagnosing bronchiolitis obliterans in lung transplant patients.

Concepts: Asthma, Cough, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Nitric oxide, Bronchiole, Bronchiolitis obliterans, Exhaled nitric oxide, Bronchodilator


Upper airway inflammation and oxidative stress have been implicated in the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and may be linked to cardiovascular consequences. We prospectively examined fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FENO), a surrogate marker of upper airway inflammation using a portable nitric oxide analyzer (NIOX MINO).

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Asthma, Sleep, Nitrogen, Nitric oxide, Sleep apnea, Obstructive sleep apnea, Exhaled nitric oxide


Interstitial lung disease (ILD) complicates the course of systemic sclerosis (SSc), representing the main cause of death in these patients. The identification of parameters that can predict the early onset and progression of ILD in SSc represents an unmet need in clinical practice. The study was designed to explore whether the surfactant proteins (SP) A and D may be used as noninvasive tools for the early identification of ILD in SSc. Alveolar exhaled nitric oxide (NO) was investigated as a surrogate marker of distal inflammation.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Medical terms, Nitrogen, Nitric oxide, C-reactive protein, Exhaled nitric oxide, Systemic scleroderma, Surfactant protein D


Background The most prevalent phenotype of asthma is characterized by eosinophil-dominated inflammation that is driven by a type 2 helper T cell (Th2). Therapeutic targeting of GATA3, an important transcription factor of the Th2 pathway, may be beneficial. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of SB010, a novel DNA enzyme (DNAzyme) that is able to cleave and inactivate GATA3 messenger RNA (mRNA). Methods We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial of SB010 involving patients who had allergic asthma with sputum eosinophilia and who also had biphasic early and late asthmatic responses after laboratory-based allergen provocation. A total of 40 patients could be evaluated; 21 were assigned to receive 10 mg of SB010, and 19 were assigned to receive placebo, with each study drug administered by means of inhalation once daily for 28 days. An allergen challenge was performed before and after the 28-day period. The primary end point was the late asthmatic response as quantified by the change in the area under the curve (AUC) for forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1). Results After 28 days, SB010 attenuated the mean late asthmatic response by 34%, as compared with the baseline response, according to the AUC for FEV1, whereas placebo was associated with a 1% increase in the AUC for FEV1 (P=0.02). The early asthmatic response with SB010 was attenuated by 11% as measured by the AUC for FEV1, whereas the early response with placebo was increased by 10% (P=0.03). Inhibition of the late asthmatic response by SB010 was associated with attenuation of allergen-induced sputum eosinophilia and with lower levels of tryptase in sputum and lower plasma levels of interleukin-5. Allergen-induced levels of fractional exhaled nitric oxide and airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine were not affected by either SB010 or placebo. Conclusions Treatment with SB010 significantly attenuated both late and early asthmatic responses after allergen provocation in patients with allergic asthma. Biomarker analysis showed an attenuation of Th2-regulated inflammatory responses. (Funded by Sterna Biologicals and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research; number, NCT01743768 .).

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Asthma, Allergy, T helper cell, Atopy, Spirometry, Exhaled nitric oxide


Regular physical activity can improve cardiopulmonary health; however, increased respiratory rates and tidal volumes during activity may increase the effective internal dose of air pollution exposure. Our objective was to investigate the impact of black carbon (BC) measured by personal sampler on the relationship between physical activity and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), a marker of airway inflammation. We hypothesized that higher personal BC would attenuate the protective effect of physical activity on airway inflammation.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Effectiveness, Nitric oxide, Exhaled nitric oxide, Global warming


Gut microbes have a substantial influence on systemic immune function and allergic sensitisation. Manipulation of the gut microbiome through prebiotics may provide a potential strategy to influence the immunopathology of asthma. This study investigated the effects of prebiotic Bimuno-galactooligosaccharide (B-GOS) supplementation on hyperpnoea-induced bronchoconstriction (HIB), a surrogate for exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, and airway inflammation. A total of ten adults with asthma and HIB and eight controls without asthma were randomised to receive 5·5 g/d of either B-GOS or placebo for 3 weeks separated by a 2-week washout period. The peak fall in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) following eucapnic voluntary hyperpnoea (EVH) defined HIB severity. Markers of airway inflammation were measured at baseline and after EVH. Pulmonary function remained unchanged in the control group. In the HIB group, the peak post-EVH fall in FEV1 at day 0 (-880 (sd 480) ml) was unchanged after placebo, but was attenuated by 40 % (-940 (sd 460) v. -570 (sd 310) ml, P=0·004) after B-GOS. In the HIB group, B-GOS reduced baseline chemokine CC ligand 17 (399 (sd 140) v. 323 (sd 144) pg/ml, P=0·005) and TNF-α (2·68 (sd 0·98) v. 2·18 (sd 0·59) pg/ml, P=0·040) and abolished the EVH-induced 29 % increase in TNF-α. Baseline C-reactive protein was reduced following B-GOS in HIB (2·46 (sd 1·14) v. 1·44 (sd 0·41) mg/l, P=0·015) and control (2·16 (sd 1·02) v. 1·47 (sd 0·33) mg/l, P=0·050) groups. Chemokine CC ligand 11 and fraction of exhaled nitric oxide remained unchanged. B-GOS supplementation attenuated airway hyper-responsiveness with concomitant reductions in markers of airway inflammation associated with HIB.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Asthma, Allergy, Nitric oxide, Spirometry, Exhaled nitric oxide, Bronchoconstriction