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.