Nitric oxide (NO) and carbon monoxide (CO) in exhaled breath are considered obtainable biomarkers of physiologic mechanisms. Therefore, obtaining their measures simply, non-invasively, and repeatedly, is of interest, and was the purpose of the current study.
Expired NO (ENO) and CO (ECO) were measured non-invasively using a gas micro-analyzer on several strains of mice (C57Bl6, IL-10-/-, A/J, MKK3-/-, JNK1-/-, NOS-2-/- and NOS-3-/-) with and without allergic airway inflammation (AI) induced by ovalbumin systemic sensitization and aerosol challenge, compared using independent-sample t-tests between groups, and repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) within groups over time of inflammation induction. ENO and ECO were also measured in C57Bl6 and IL-10-/- mice, ages 8–58 weeks old, the relationship of which was determined by regression analysis. S-methionyl-L-thiocitrulline (SMTC), and tin protoporphyrin (SnPP) were used to inhibit neuronal/constitutive NOS-1 and heme-oxygenase, respectively, and alter NO and CO production, respectively, as assessed by paired t-tests. Methacholine-associated airway responses (AR) were measured by the enhanced pause method, with comparisons by repeated measures ANOVA and post-hoc testing.
ENO was significantly elevated in naïve IL-10-/- (9–14 ppb) and NOS-2-/- (16 ppb) mice as compared to others (average: 5–8 ppb), whereas ECO was significantly higher in naïve A/J, NOS-3-/- (3–4 ppm), and MKK3-/- (4–5 ppm) mice, as compared to others (average: 2.5 ppm). As compared to C57Bl6 mice, AR of IL-10-/-, JNK1-/-, NOS-2-/-, and NOS-3-/- mice were decreased, whereas they were greater for A/J and MKK3-/- mice. SMTC significantly decreased ENO by ~30%, but did not change AR in NOS-2-/- mice. SnPP reduced ECO in C57Bl6 and IL-10-/- mice, and increased AR in NOS-2-/- mice. ENO decreased as a function of age in IL-10-/- mice, remaining unchanged in C57Bl6 mice.
These results are consistent with the ideas that: 1) ENO is associated with mouse strain and knockout differences in NO production and AR, 2) alterations of ENO and ECO can be measured non-invasively with induction of allergic AI or inhibition of key gas-producing enzymes, and 3) alterations in AR may be dependent on the relative balance of NO and CO in the airway.