Factors affecting fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) in early childhood are incompletely understood.
To examine the relationships between FeNO and allergic sensitization, total IgE, atopic dermatitis, rhinitis, asthma, and lung function (spirometry) in children.
Children at high-risk of asthma and other allergic diseases due to parental history were enrolled at birth and followed prospectively. FeNO was measured by online technique at ages 6 and 8 years. Relationships among FeNO, various atopic characteristics, and asthma were evaluated.
Reproducible FeNO measurements were obtained in 64% (135 of 210) of 6 year old and 93% (180 of 194) of 8 year old children. There was seasonal variability in FeNO. Children with aeroallergen sensitization at age 6 and 8 years had increased levels of FeNO compared to those not sensitized [geometric mean (6 years, 10.9 vs. 6.7 ppb, p<0.0001; 8 years, 14.6 vs. 7.1 ppb, p<0.0001)]. FeNO was higher in children with asthma than in those without asthma at 8 years, but not 6 years of age (6 years, 9.2 vs. 8.3 ppb, p = 0.48; 8 years, 11.5 vs. 9.2 ppb, p = 0.03). At 8 years of age, this difference was no longer significant in a multivariate model that included aeroallergen sensitization (p=0.33). There were no correlations between FeNO and spirometric indices at 6 or 8 years of age.
These findings underscore the importance of evaluating allergen sensitization status when FeNO is used as a potential biomarker in the diagnosis and/or monitoring of atopic diseases, particularly asthma.
When FeNO is utilized as a biomarker for the diagnosis and/or monitoring of atopic diseases such as asthma, the presence or absence of allergic sensitization should be carefully considered.
This pediatric cohort study evaluates the relationships between FeNO and various atopic characteristics. The results suggest that allergic sensitization should be evaluated when FeNO is used as a biomarker in clinical or research settings.
fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO); asthma; allergic sensitization; atopic dermatitis; lung function; children; seasonality; atopy
The fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), a measure of airway inflammation, shows promise as a noninvasive tool to guide asthma management, but there is a paucity of longitudinal data about seasonal variation and environmental predictors of FeNO in children. The objective of this project was to evaluate how environmental factors affect FeNO concentrations over a 12-month study period among children with doctor diagnosed asthma. We conducted a prospective cohort study of 225 tobacco-smoke exposed children age 6 to 12 years with doctor-diagnosed asthma including measures of FeNO, medication use, settled indoor allergens (dust mite, cat, dog, and cockroach), and tobacco smoke exposure. Baseline geometric mean FeNO was 12.4 ppb (range 1.9 to 60.9 ppb). In multivariable analyses, higher baseline FeNO levels, atopy, and fall season were associated with increased FeNO levels, measured 6 and 12 months after study initiation, whereas inhaled steroid use, summer season, and increasing nicotine exposure were associated with lower FeNO levels. In secondary analyses of allergen sensitization, only sensitization to dust mite and cat were associated with increased FeNO levels. Our data demonstrate that FeNO levels over a year long period reflected baseline FeNO levels, allergen sensitization, season, and inhaled steroid use in children with asthma. These results indicate that FeNO levels are responsive to common environmental triggers as well as therapy for asthma in children. Clinicians and researchers may need to consider an individual’s baseline FeNO levels to manage children with asthma.
allergen; sensitization; tobacco smoke; inhaled corticosteroid
Measurement of the fractional concentration of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) is a quantitative, noninvasive, simple, safe method of assessing airway inflammation. While FeNO measurement has been standardized, reference values for elementary school children are scarce. The aim of this study was to establish reference values for FeNO in children.
FeNO was measured in elementary school children at 6-12 years of age in Seoul, Korea, following American Thoracic Society guidelines and using a chemiluminescence analyzer (NIOX Exhaled Nitric Oxide Monitoring System, Aerocrine, Sweden). A total of 1,252 children completed a modified International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Children (ISAAC) questionnaire; FeNO was measured in 1,063 children according to the protocol and in 808 children defined as healthy controls.
Mean FeNO were 10.32 ppb, 16.58 ppb, and 12.36 ppb in non-atopic, atopic, and all 808 healthy controls, respectively. FeNO was not associated with age and gender. The FeNO reference equations were determined by multiple linear regression analysis, taking into account the variables of age, height, weight, total IgE, eosinophil percent, and bronchial hyper-responsiveness (methacholine PC20). FeNO=0.776+0.003×total IgE+0.340×eosinophil percent; coefficient of determination (R2)=0.084 in the 501 healthy non-atopic controls. FeNO=-18.365+1.536×eosinophil percent, R2=0.183 in the 307 healthy atopic controls; and FeNO=-7.888+0.130×Height+0.004×total IgE+1.233×eosinophil percent, R2=0.209 in the 808 all healthy controls. Eosinophil percent was correlated with FeNO in all healthy controls. FeNO was not associated with BMI.
This study provides reference values for FeNO that can be used to evaluate airway inflammation in elementary school children. Determinants that could most accurately predict FeNO in healthy school-age children were assessed.
FeNO; reference value; determinants; healthy; children
Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) and forced expiratory flow between 25% and 75% of vital capacity (FEF25-75) are not included in routine monitoring of asthma control. We observed changes in FeNO level and FEF25-75 after FeNO-based treatment with inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) in children with controlled asthma (CA).
We recruited 148 children with asthma (age, 8 to 16 years) who had maintained asthma control and normal forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) without control medication for ≥3 months. Patients with FeNO levels >25 ppb were allocated to the ICS-treated (FeNO-based management) or untreated group (guideline-based management). Changes in spirometric values and FeNO levels from baseline were evaluated after 6 weeks.
Ninety-three patients had FeNO levels >25 ppb. These patients had lower FEF25-75% predicted values than those with FeNO levels ≤25 ppb (P<0.01). After 6 weeks, the geometric mean (GM) FeNO level in the ICS-treated group was 45% lower than the baseline value, and the mean percent increase in FEF25-75 was 18.% which was greater than that in other spirometric values. There was a negative correlation between percent changes in FEF25-75 and FeNO (r=-0.368, P=0.001). In contrast, the GM FeNO and spirometric values were not significantly different from the baseline values in the untreated group.
The anti-inflammatory treatment simultaneously improved the FeNO levels and FEF25-75 in CA patients when their FeNO levels were >25 ppb.
Nitric oxide; Spirometry; Inhaled corticosteroids; Asthma; Child
Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) levels are increased in children with asthma and in infants with recurrent wheezing, but the role of FENO in the acute phase of bronchiolitis is still not defined.
The aim of this study is to evaluate FENO values in the acute phase of bronchiolitis, compare them with healthy infants, and relate those values with the appearance of other wheezing episodes.
FENO values were determined in infants between 2 months and 2 years affected with RVS bronchiolitis by offline method. The FENO values collected in the acute phase were related with the respiratory clinical symptoms presented in the 2 years following the episode.
A total of 30 patients were recruited: 15 in the bronchiolitis group and 15 in the control group. The average of the FENO values in the acute phase was 18.74 ppb (range 2–88) in the bronchiolitis group, and 8.75 ppb (range 2–24) in the control group. However, these results showed no significant statistical differences (p=0.176). Nevertheless, we found a positive correlation between the FENO values and the clinical score (Downes) of the bronchiolitis episode (p=0.023). In infants that presented other wheezing episodes in the 2 years after, the average of FENO in the acute phase of the first episode was 23.1 ppb (average of 10.25 ppb) versus 8.4 ppb (average 5.4 ppb) in the group of patients with no other episodes. The comparison of averages has no statistical significance.
We found no differences in FENO between infants with bronchiolitis and healthy ones. The FENO values in the acute phase seems to be related to the severity of the disease but do not predict the appearance of wheezing episodes in the following 2 years.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the lung and diagnosis is difficult in children. The measurement of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) may be useful in the diagnosis and monitoring of treatments. A number of factors affect FeNO levels and their influence varies across countries and regions. This study included 300 healthy students, aged from 6 to 14 years, who participated voluntarily. A comprehensive medical survey was used and measurements of FeNO levels and spirometric parameters were recorded in Shenyang, China. We observed that the median FeNO was 11 ppb (range, 8–16 ppb) in children from the northern areas of China. For males, the median level was 13 ppb (range, 9–18 ppb) and the median level was 10 ppb (range, 8–14 ppb) for females. There was a significant difference between males and females (P= 0.007) and age was correlated with FeNO (R2= 0.6554), while weight, height, body mass index (BMI), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume (FEV1), FEV1/FVC and peak expiratory flow (PEF) had no correlation with FeNO. In conclusion, the median FeNO is 11 ppb (range, 8–16 ppb) in male and female healthy children from northern areas of China and is affected by gender and age.
exhaled nitric oxide; healthy children; gender; age
Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), a well-known marker of airway inflammation, is rarely evaluated in rhinitis of different etiology. We aimed to compare the eNO levels in allergic rhinitis (AR) and nonallergic rhinitis (NAR) with/without asthma, as well as the contributing factors that interfere with elevated FeNO.
Patients were enrolled based on chronic nasal symptoms. Orally exhaled NO was measured with the single exhalation method at 50 mL/s. All subjects underwent a panel of tests: skin-prick tests, asthma control test, blood sampling, spirometry, and health-related quality-of-life questionnaires.
The study group consisted of mainly women (130 women/41 men), with a mean age of 32.6 ± 13.2 years. AR was diagnosed in 122 (78.2%), NAR in 34 (21.8%), and 15 subjects were healthy controls. FeNO was insignificantly higher in patients with AR compared with patients with NAR and controls (32.2 parts per billion [ppb] versus 27 and 19.4 ppb), with no difference between genders. NAR + asthma had higher FeNO than those without asthma (40.5 ppb versus 14.9 ppb; p < 0.03), whereas accompanying asthma did not affect FeNO levels in the AR group. AR ± asthma had significantly higher FeNO levels than the NAR-only group (p < 0.01). Among AR + asthma, perennial sensitization caused higher FeNO levels than did seasonal allergens (48.5 ± 33.9 and 19.5 ± 13.6′ p = 0.003), whereas FeNO was significantly higher during the allergen season. Nasally inhaled corticosteroids insignificantly reduced FeNO levels in all groups. Severity and seasonality of rhinitis, asthma, and ocular symptoms, but not gender, age, body mass index, Total IgE, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, and smoking, were associated with FeNO.
Rhinitis and comorbid asthma are responsible for increased FeNO, irrespective of atopy. However, NAR without asthma may not be considered as a strong risk factor for airway inflammation.
Airway inflammation; allergic rhinitis; asthma; atopy; exhaled nitric oxide; inhaled corticosteroids; nonallergic rhinitis
Determinants of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) need to be understood better to maximize the value of FeNO measurement in clinical practice and research. Our aim was to identify significant predictors of FeNO in an initial cross-sectional survey of southern California schoolchildren, part of a larger longitudinal study of asthma incidence.
During one school year, we measured FeNO at 100 ml/sec flow, using a validated offline technique, in 2568 children of age 7–10 yr. We estimated online (50 ml/sec flow) FeNO using a prediction equation from a separate smaller study with adjustment for offline measurement artifacts, and analyzed its relationship to clinical and demographic characteristics.
FeNO was lognormally distributed with geometric means ranging from 11 ppb in children without atopy or asthma to 16 ppb in children with allergic asthma. Although effects of atopy and asthma were highly significant, ranges of FeNO for children with and without those conditions overlapped substantially. FeNO was significantly higher in subjects aged > 9, compared to younger subjects. Asian-American boys showed significantly higher FeNO than children of all other sex/ethnic groups; Hispanics and African-Americans of both sexes averaged slightly higher than non-Hispanic whites. Increasing height-for-age had no significant effect, but increasing weight-for-height was associated with decreasing FeNO.
FeNO measured offline is a useful biomarker for airway inflammation in large population-based studies. Further investigation of age, ethnicity, body-size, and genetic influences is needed, since they may contribute to substantial variation in FeNO.
Measurement of fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) is a relatively simple, noninvasive, and reproducible test for detection of endogenous inflammatory signals in childhood. The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between FeNo levels and forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) in a group of steroid-naive childhood asthma.
The study was conducted in a group of 60 steroid-naive asthmatic children (50 atopic and 20 nonatopic; mean age 7 years) who presented to Kyung Hee University Hospital and 20 healthy children. All patients underwent measurement of FeNO, skin prick tests with common inhaled allergens, and blood eosinophil, and flow-volume spirometry. FeNO levels were measured by chemiluminescence during exhalation into the NO analyzer. Measurements of FeNO in parts per billion (ppb) and spirometry, including FEV1 and FVC, were performed.
Compared to the healthy volunteers, FeNO was elevated in both groups of asthmatics. The mean FeNO level in the asthmatic children was 18.6 ppb. FeNO in the atopic asthma group was higher than in the group of nonatopic asthmatics. There was statistically significant correlation between FeNO levels and FEV1 (r = -0.36, P < 0.016) and FVC (r = -0.40, P < 0.01).
FeNO levels were related with pulmonary functions in childhood asthma. Thus measurement of FeNO is a promising clinical tool for assessing asthma.
Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) is widely used as an inflammatory marker for asthma. However, reference values and influencing factors of FeNO using Niox Mino, which is the only device achieving US FDA approval, are not well described in healthy Asian adults. This study aimed to suggest the reference values and influencing factors of FeNO in healthy Korean adults.
Subjects who were over 19 years old and did not have any history of rhinitis, asthma or recent respiratory symptoms were enrolled. FeNO levels were measured using Niox Mino. Age, gender, body mass index (BMI), smoking status and lung function were also measured to analyze factors associated with FeNO levels.
The mean value of FeNO was 16.14 ± 10.04 ppb. The reference value of FeNO, which was defined as the value of 95% in distribution curve, was same or less than 34 ppb. In a univariate analysis, FeNO levels were not associated with age, BMI and smoking history. However, atopy status (18.2 ± 11.8 for atopy and 15.1 ± 8.5 for nonatopy groups, P = 0.008) and gender (17.8 ± 10.2 for male and 14.8 ± 9.8 for female groups, P < 0.001) were positively associated with FeNO levels. In stratified analysis, the significance of both variables remained unchanged (P < 0.001).
Our data suggested that the reference value of FeNO in healthy Korean adults seemed to be same or less than 34 ppb. Reference values of FeNO in Korean adults are influenced by gender and atopy status.
The measurement of fractional concentration of nitric oxide in exhaled air (FeNO) is valuable for the assessment of airway inflammation. Offline measurement of FeNO has been used in some epidemiologic studies. However, the time course of the changes in FeNO after collection has not been fully clarified. In this study, the effects of storage conditions on the stability of FeNO measurement in exhaled air after collection for epidemiologic research were examined.
Exhaled air samples were collected from 48 healthy adults (mean age 43.4 ± 12.1 years) in Mylar bags. FeNO levels in the bags were measured immediately after collection. The bags were then stored at 4°C or room temperature to measure FeNO levels repeatedly for up to 168 hours.
In the bags stored at room temperature after collection, FeNO levels were stable for 9 hours, but increased starting at 24 hours. FeNO levels remained stable for a long time at 4°C, and they were 99.7% ± 7.7% and 101.3% ± 15.0% relative to the baseline values at 24 and 96 hours, respectively. When the samples were stored at 4°C, FeNO levels gradually decreased with time among the subjects with FeNO ≥ 51 ppb immediately after collection, although there were almost no changes among the other subjects. FeNO levels among current smokers increased even at 4°C, although the values among ex-smokers decreased gradually, and those among nonsmokers remained stable. The rate of increase was significantly higher among current smokers than among nonsmokers and ex-smokers from 9 hours after collection onwards.
Storage at 4°C could prolong the stability of FeNO levels after collection. This result suggests that valid measurements can be performed within several days if the samples are stored at 4°C. However, the time course of the changes in FeNO levels differed in relation to initial FeNO values and cigarette smoking.
Cigarette smoking; Epidemiologic research; Exhaled nitric oxide; Offline measurement; Refrigeration; Storage conditions; Wheezing
The fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), a measure of airway inflammation, is a potential noninvasive tool to guide asthma management in children. It remains unclear, however, if FeNO adds any information beyond clinical assessment of asthma control. We evaluated the associations of FeNO level with short acting beta agonist use and compared it with other clinical asthma assessments. We examined a prospective cohort study of 225 tobacco-smoke-exposed children aged 6–12 years with doctor-diagnosed asthma, including measures of FeNO, reported days of short acting beta agonist use, and unscheduled asthma visits. FeNO was analyzed in relation to current and future (3 months later) short acting beta agonist use. Mean FeNO at baseline, 6, and 12 months was 15.5, 15.7, and 16.8 ppb. In multivariable analyses, higher FeNO level was associated with increased short acting beta agonist use but only among children who were not on inhaled corticosteroids. Among those not on an inhaled steroid, there was a 12% increase in current and 15% increase in future days of short acting beta agonist use for every 10 ppb increase in FeNO level. FeNO levels remained associated with current short acting beta agonist use even after adjusting for unscheduled asthma visits. FeNO levels remained associated with future short acting beta agonist use even after adjusting for current short acting beta agonist use or unscheduled asthma visits. We conclude that FeNO levels are associated with short acting beta agonist use but only among children who are not on an inhaled corticosteroid.
Asthma in the elderly is poorly understood because only a small minority of asthma studies have investigated this patients group. Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FENO) has been extensively studied in children and adults with asthma, but little is known about FENO in elderly asthmatics. We studied the role of serial measurements of FENO in elderly subjects with asthma.
Thirty stable asthmatics 65 years old and older were followed for one year with evaluations at baseline and every three months. We looked for associations between FENO and subjects’ demographics, comorbidities, asthma treatment, spirometric values and Asthma Control Test (ACT) scores. FENO was not elevated in our study subjects throughout the study period (mean < 30 ppb). FENO significantly increased and FEV1% decreased between first and last study visit, while ACT scores and steroid dose remained unchanged. No significant correlation was found between FENO and FEV1/FVC, other spirometric values, inhaled steroid dose or ACTscores at any time point. No associations of FENO were found with age, sex, Body Mass Index (BMI), atopic status, disease duration, presence of rhinitis or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or other medications used. Moderate asthma exacerbations did not consistently cause an increase of FENO.
In stable elderly asthmatic patients, FENO was not elevated and did not correlate with subjects’ demographics, comorbidities, treatment, symptoms or spirometric values. Routine measurements of FENO may not be clinically valuable in elderly asthmatics.
Asthma; FENO; Elderly
Studies on airway inflammation, measured as fraction exhaled nitric oxide (FENO), have focused on its relation to control of asthma, but the contribution of allergen exposure to elevation of FENO is unknown.
We evaluated (1) whether FENO was elevated in children with allergic sensitization or asthma; (2) whether specific allergen exposure increased FENO levels in sensitized, but not in unsensitized children; and (3) whether sedentary behavior increased FENO, independent of allergen exposures.
At age 12, in a birth cohort of children with parental history of allergy or asthma, we measured bed dust allergen (dust mite, cat, cockroach) by ELISA; specific allergic sensitization primarily by specific IgE ; and respiratory disease (current asthma, rhinitis, and wheeze) and hours of TV viewing/video game playing by questionnaire. Children performed spirometry maneuvers before and after bronchodilator responses, and had FENO measured using electrochemical detection methods (NIOX MINO).
FENO was elevated in children with current asthma (32.2 ppb), wheeze (27.0 ppb), or rhinitis (23.2ppb) as compared to individuals without these respective symptoms/diagnoses (16.4 ppb to 16.6 ppb, p< 0.005 for all comparisons). Allergic sensitization to indoor allergens (cat, dog, dust mite) predicted higher levels of FENO, and explained one third of the variability of FENO. FENO levels were highest in children both sensitized and exposed to dust mite. Greater than 10 hours of weekday TV viewing was associated with a 0.64 log increase in FENO, after controlling indoor allergen exposure, BMI and allergic sensitization.
Allergen exposures and sedentary behavior (TV viewing/ video game playing), may increase airway inflammation, measured as FENO.
Asthma; dust mite; cat; allergens; exhaled NO; allergic sensitization; home environment
The fractional concentration of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) is a noninvasive marker for airway inflammation but requires further study in pre-school children to determine its clinical relevance.
To determine whether the risk of respiratory tract illnesses (RTI), disease burden and atopic features are related to FeNO in preschool children with moderate-to-severe intermittent wheezing.
We determined FeNO using the off-line tidal breathing technique in 89 children, 12–59 months old, with moderate-severe intermittent wheezing. Risk of RTI was determined by comparing participants with baseline FeNO >75th percentile (24.4ppb) to those with FeNO ≤75th percentile using Cox regression analysis.
The risk of RTI was significantly higher in children with FeNO >24.4ppb relative to those with lower FeNO values (adjusted RR= 3.8, 95% CI: 1.74–8.22; p=0.0008). FeNO levels >24ppb were associated with a greater number of positive skin tests to aeroallergens (p=0.03), but not with other atopic characteristics or historic parameters of illness burden.
Elevated FeNO in preschool children with moderate-to-severe intermittent wheezing was associated with an increased risk of RTI during a one-year follow-up. In addition, higher FeNO was associated with aeroallergen sensitization.
Preschool children; exhaled nitric oxide; respiratory tract illness; wheezing
Diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) and determination of response to therapy is based on histological assessment of the esophagus, which requires upper endoscopy. In children, in whom a dietary approach is commonly used, multiple endoscopies are needed, because foods are eliminated and then gradually reintroduced. Ideally, noninvasive methods could supplement or replace upper endoscopy to facilitate management. Fractionated exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) has been proposed as a useful measure for monitoring disease activity in studies of patients with eosinophil-predominant asthma and in other atopic disorders. Thus, we evaluated whether FeNO levels could be a useful biomarker to assess the response to therapy in EoE patients. This study was designed to determine whether there is a change in FeNO levels during treatment with topical corticosteroids and whether changes correlated with clinical response. This was a prospective, multicenter study that enrolled nonasthmatic patients with established EoE. FeNO levels and symptom scores were measured at baseline, biweekly during 6-week swallowed fluticasone treatment, and 4 weeks posttreatment. Twelve patients completed the trial. We found a statistically significant difference between median pre- and posttreatment FeNO levels [20.3 ppb (16.0–29.0 ppb) vs 17.6 ppb (11.7–27.3 ppb), p=0.009]. However, neither the pretreatment FeNO level, a change of FeNO level after 2 weeks of treatment, nor the FeNO level at the end of treatment confidently predicted a clinical or histological response. Although our findings suggest nitric oxide possibly has a physiological role in EoE, our observations do not support a role of FeNo determination for management of EoE.
Biomarker; disease activity; eosinophilic esophagitis; fractionated exhaled nitric oxide; monitoring; noninvasive; treatment
Exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), a measure of airway inflammation, is being explored as a tool to guide asthma management in children. Investigators have identified associations of genetic polymorphisms in nitric oxide synthase genes (NOS1 and NOS3) with FeNO levels; however, none have explored whether these polymorphisms modify the relationship of environmental exposures with FeNO. The objective of this project was to evaluate the association of NOS polymorphisms and environmental exposures with FeNO levels among children with asthma. We conducted a 12 month, prospective cohort study of 225 tobacco-smoke exposed children (6 to 12 years) with doctor-diagnosed asthma. We assessed environmental exposures (tobacco, indoor allergens, & airborne particulates), polymorphisms in NOS1 (an intronic AAT tandem repeat) and NOS3 (G894T), and FeNO levels. There was no association of NOS1 or NOS3 polymorphisms with FeNO levels. There were no significant interactions of environmental exposures and the NOS1 polymorphism with FeNO levels. In contrast, there was an interaction of the NOS3 polymorphism and airborne nicotine concentration with FeNO levels (p=0.01). Among GG genotype individuals, nicotine exposure did not affect FeNO levels; however, among individuals with at least one T allele, higher nicotine exposure was associated with lower FeNO levels (approximately 5ppb decrease from the lowest to the highest quartile). We conclude that genetic differences may explain some of the conflicting results in studies of the effects of tobacco smoke exposure on FeNO levels and may make FeNO interpretation difficult for a subset of children with asthma.
allergen; asthma; sensitization; tobacco smoke; air nicotine; nitric oxide synthase; inhaled corticosteroid; exhaled nitric oxide
Fractioned exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) is a noninvasive marker of inflammation in asthmatic patients. FeNO can be used to monitor airway inflammation, but individual responses make tailored interventions based on FeNO difficult. The correlation between the asthma control test (ACT), FEV1, and FeNO was evaluated in this study to ascertain the correct usage of FeNO with different asthma phenotypes regarding their control, allergy, comorbidity, obesity, age, smoking status, and severity. ACT, pulmonary function, and FeNO in 416 asthmatic patients on combined therapy were retrospective evaluated. Correlations between these parameters and the FeNO levels in different asthma phenotypes were calculated. In the study population, FeNO was 31.8 ± 28.5 parts per billion (ppb), FEV1 was 83.4 ± 19% and ACT was 19 ± 5.2. ACT scores were negatively correlated with FeNO (r = −0.31; p = 0.002). FeNO was different in patients with positive and negative skin-prick test (p < 0.05), with and without allergic rhinitis (p < 0.01), and with and without allergic conjunctivitis (p < 0.01). Significantly higher FeNO levels were found with logistic regression analysis only in patients with a history of emergency room visits (ERVs) (p = 0.024). The rate of the ERV of the patients with an ACT score more than or equal to 20 and with a FeNO value of more than 35 ppb was 22.9%, but with a FeNO value of less than 35 ppb was 6.5% (p = 0.004). Allergy and allergic comorbidities may lead to an increase in FeNO levels. Patients with a history of ERV have markedly higher FeNO levels, although they have an ACT score more than or equal to 20.
Airway markers; allergic rhinitis; asthma; asthma control; asthma control test; emergency room visit; fractional exhaled nitric oxide; noninvasive monitoring; pulmonary function; reflux.
The fractional concentration of nitric oxide in exhaled air (FENO) is used as a biomarker of eosinophilic airway inflammation. FENO is increased in patients with asthma. The relationship between subjective asthma symptoms and airway inflammation is an important issue. We expected that the subjective asthma symptoms in women might be different from those in men. Therefore, we investigated the gender differences of asthma symptoms and FENO in a survey of asthma prevalence in university students.
The information about asthma symptoms was obtained from answers to the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) questionnaire, and FENO was measured by an offline method in 640 students who were informed of this study and consented to participate.
The prevalence of asthma symptoms on the basis of data obtained from 584 students (266 men and 318 women), ranging in age from 18 to 24 years, was analyzed. Wheeze, chest tightness, an attack of shortness of breath, or an attack of cough within the last year was observed in 13.2% of 584 students. When 38.0 ppb was used as the cut-off value of FENO to make the diagnosis of asthma, the sensitivity was 86.8% and the specificity was 74.0%. FENO was ≥ 38.0 ppb in 32.7% of students. FENO was higher in men than in women. The prevalence of asthma symptoms estimated by considering FENO was 7.2%; the prevalence was greater in men (9.4%) than women (5.3%). A FENO ≥ 38.0 ppb was common in students who reported wheeze, but not in students, especially women, who reported cough attacks.
The prevalence of asthma symptoms in university students age 18 to 24 years in Japan was estimated to be 7.2% on the basis of FENO levels as well as subjective symptoms. Gender differences were observed in both FENO levels and asthma symptoms reflecting the presence of eosinophilic airway inflammation.
Trial registration number
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder in the airways. Measurement of FeNO (fractional exhaled nitric oxide) is a non-invasive tool for measuring airway inflammation. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship of FeNO and acute asthmatic exacerbation in children and to decide whether measurement of FeNO could predict acute exacerbation of asthma.
Thirty eight children with mild to moderate persistent asthma aged from 3 to 15 years were included. Patient's data were based on out-patient records. FeNO was measured thorough chemiluminescence analyzer. Prospectively, the patients were followed for 6 month. The FeNO levels of asthma exacerbation group and non-exacerbation groups were evaluated.
Mean age of the patients is 5.4 years. There were no difference of peripheral blood total eosinophil count, serum IgE, age, sex between asthma exacerbation group and non-exacerbation group. In the range of abnormal FeNO level (more than 10 ppb), there was significant difference of FeNO level between exacerbation group and non-exacerbation group (P = 0.004). There was also significant correlation between FeNO level and acute asthma exacerbation (P = 0.003).
Measurement of FeNO can be a useful tool to predict asthma exacerbation in mild to moderate persistent asthmatic children.
The fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) is a quantitative, noninvasive and safe measure of airways inflammation that may complement the assessment of asthma. Elevations of FeNO have recently been found to correlate with allergic sensitization. Therefore, FeNO may be a useful predictor of atopy in the general population. We sought to determine the diagnostic accuracy of FeNO in predicting atopy in a population-based study.
We conducted a cross-sectional study in an age- and sex- stratified random sample of 13 to 15 year-olds in two communities in Peru. We asked participants about asthma symptoms, environmental exposures and sociodemographics, and underwent spirometry, assessment of FeNO and an allergy skin test. We used multivariable logistic regression to model the odds of atopy as a function of FeNO, and calculated area-under-the-curves (AUC) to determine the diagnostic accuracy of FeNO as a predictor of atopy.
Of 1441 recruited participants, 1119 (83%) completed all evaluations. Mean FeNO was 17.6 ppb (SD=0.6) in atopics and 11.6 ppb (SD=0.8) in non-atopics (p<0.001). In multivariable analyses, a FeNO>20 ppb was associated with an increase in the odds of atopy in non-asthmatics (OR=5.3, 95% CI 3.3 to 8.5) and asthmatics (OR=16.2, 95% CI 3.4 to 77.5). A FeNO>20 ppb was the best predictor for atopy with an AUC of 68% (95% CI 64% to 69%). Stratified by asthma, the AUC was 65% (95% CI 61% to 69%) in non-asthmatics and 82% (95% CI 71% to 91%) in asthmatics.
FeNO had limited accuracy to identify atopy among the general population; however, it may be a useful indicator of atopic phenotype among asthmatics.
Allergic sensitization; Asthma; Exhaled nitric; Allergic rhinitis
Elevated fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) associates positively with symptomatic atopy among asthmatics and in the general population. It is, however, unclear whether sensitization to common allergens per se– as verified with positive skin prick tests – affects FENO in healthy individuals.
The aim of this study was to examine the association between FENO and sensitization to common allergens in healthy nonsmoking adults with no signs or symptoms of airway disorders.
FENO measurements (flow rate: 50 mL/s), skin prick tests to common inhalant allergens, structured interviews, spirometry, bronchodilatation tests and bronchial histamine challenges were performed on a randomly selected population of 248 subjects. Seventy-three of them (29%) were nonsmoking asymptomatic adults with no history of asthma, persistent or recurrent upper or lower airway symptoms and no signs of airway disorders in the tests listed above.
FENO concentrations were similar in skin prick test positive (n = 32) and negative (n = 41) healthy subjects, with median values of 13.2 and 15.5 ppb, respectively (P = 0.304). No correlation appeared between FENO and the number of positive reactions (r = −0.138; P = 0.244), or the total sum of wheal diameters (r = −0.135; P = 0.254). The nonparametric one-tailed 95% upper limits of FENO among skin prick positive and negative healthy nonsmoking subjects were 29 and 31 ppb, respectively.
Atopic constitution defined as positive skin prick test results does not increase FENO in healthy nonsmoking adults with no signs or symptoms of airway disorders. This suggests that same reference ranges for FENO can be applied to both skin prick test positive and negative subjects.
Please cite this paper as: Rouhos A, Kainu A, Karjalainen J, Lindqvist A, Piirilä P, Sarna S, Haahtela T and Sovijärvi ARA. Atopic sensitization to common allergens without symptoms or signs of airway disorders does not increase exhaled nitric oxide. The Clinical Respiratory Journal 2008; 2: 141–148.
airway inflammation; atopy; exhaled nitric oxide; healthy adults; skin prick tests
Airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) are two characteristic features of asthma. Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) has shown good correlation with AHR in asthmatics. Less information is available about FENO as a marker of inflammation from work exposures. We thus examined the relation between FENO and AHR in lifeguards undergoing exposure to chloramines in indoor pools.
39 lifeguards at six indoor pools were given a respiratory health questionnaire, FENO measurements, spirometry, and a methacholine bronchial challenge (MBC) test. Subjects were labeled MBC+ if the forced expiratory volume (FEV1) fell by 20% or more. The normalized linear dose-response slope (NDRS) was calculated as the percentage fall in FEV1 at the last dose divided by the total dose given. The relation between MBC and FENO was assessed using logistic regression adjusting on confounding factors. The association between NDRS and log-transformed values of FENO was tested in a multiple linear regression model.
The prevalence of lifeguards MBC+ was 37.5%. In reactors, the median FENO was 18.9 ppb (90% of the predicted value) vs. 12.5 ppb (73% predicted) in non-reactors. FENO values ≥ 60% of predicted values were 80% sensitive and 42% specific to identify subjects MBC+. In the logistic regression model no other factor had an effect on MBC after adjusting for FENO. In the linear regression model, NDRS was significantly predicted by log FENO.
In lifeguards working in indoor swimming pools, elevated FENO levels are associated with increased airway responsiveness.
Asthma is considered an heterogeneous disease, requiring multiple biomarkers for diagnosis and management. Fractional exhaled nitric oxide in exhaled breath (FeNO) was the first useful non-invasive marker of airway inflammation in asthma and still is the most widely used. The non-invasive nature and the relatively easy use of FeNO technique make it an interesting tool to monitor airway inflammation and rationalize corticosteroid therapy in asthmatic patients, together with the traditional clinical tools (history, physical examination and lung function tests), even if some controversies have been published regarding the use of FeNO to support the management of asthma in children. The problem of multiple confounding factors and overlap between healthy and asthmatic populations preclude the routine application of FeNO reference values in clinical practice and suggest that it would be better to consider an individual “best”, taking into account the context in which the measurement is obtained and the clinical history of the patient. Besides, there is still disagreement about the role of FeNO as a marker of asthma control, due to the complexity of balance among the different items involved in its determination and the lack of homogeneity in the population groups studied in the few studies conducted so far. Heterogeneity of problematic severe asthma greatly limits utility of FeNO alone as a biomarker of inflammation to optimize the disease management on an individual basis. None of the studies conducted so far demonstrated that the use of FeNO was better than current asthma guidelines in controlling asthma exacerbations. In summary, there is a large variation in FeNO levels between individuals, which may reflect the natural heterogeneity in baseline epithelial nitric oxide synthase activity and/or the contribution of other noneosinophilic factors to epithelial nitric oxide synthase activity. FeNO is a promising biomarker, but at present some limits are highlighted. We would recommend that further research can be carried out by organizing studies aimed to obtain reliable reference values of FeNO and in order to better interpret FeNO measurements in clinical settings, taking also into account the influence of genetic and environmental factors.
Few studies have analyzed the association of socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors with asthma related outcomes in early childhood, including Fraction of exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) and airway resistance (Rint). We examined the association of socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors with wheezing, asthma, FeNO and Rint at age 6 years. Additionally, the role of potential mediating factors was studied.
The study included 6717 children participating in The Generation R Study, a prospective population-based cohort study. Data on socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors, wheezing and asthma were obtained by questionnaires. FeNO and Rint were measured at the research center. Statistical analyses were performed using logistic and linear regression models.
At age 6 years, 9% (456/5084) of the children had wheezing symptoms and 7% (328/4953) had asthma. Children from parents with financial difficulties had an increased risk of wheezing (adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) = 1.63, 95% Confidence Interval (CI):1.18–2.24). Parental low education, paternal unemployment and child's male sex were associated with asthma, independent of other socioeconomic or sociodemographic factors (aOR = 1.63, 95% CI:1.24–2.15, aOR = 1.85, 95% CI:1.11–3.09, aOR = 1.58, 95% CI:1.24–2.01, respectively). No socioeconomic or gender differences in FeNO were found. The risks of wheezing, asthma, FeNO and Rint measurements differed between ethnic groups (p<0.05). Associations between paternal unemployment, child's sex, ethnicity and asthma related outcomes remained largely unexplained.
This study showed differences between the socioeconomic and sociodemographic correlates of wheezing and asthma compared to the correlates of FeNO and Rint at age 6 years. Several socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors were independently associated with wheezing and asthma. Child's ethnicity was the only factor independently associated with FeNO. We encourage further studies on underlying pathways and public health intervention programs, focusing on reducing socioeconomic or sociodemographic inequalities in asthma.