Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs, characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness. Chronic repetitive bouts of acute inflammation lead to airway wall remodeling and possibly the sequelae of fixed airflow obstruction. Nitric oxide (NO) is a reactive molecule synthesized by NO synthases (NOS). NOS are expressed by cells within the airway wall and functionally, two NOS isoforms exist: constitutive and inducible. In asthma, the inducible isoform is over expressed, leading to increased production of NO, which diffuses into the airway lumen, where it can be detected in the exhaled breath. The exhaled NO signal can be partitioned into airway and alveolar components by measuring exhaled NO at multiple flows and applying mathematical models of pulmonary NO dynamics. The airway NO flux and alveolar NO concentration can be elevated in adults and children with asthma and have been correlated with markers of airway inflammation and airflow obstruction in cross-sectional studies. Longitudinal studies which specifically address the clinical potential of partitioning exhaled NO for diagnosis, managing therapy, and predicting exacerbation are needed.
- Nitric oxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine