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Original Research: ASTHMA |

Exhaled Nitric Oxide and Breath Condensate pH in Asthmatic Reactions Induced by Isocyanates

Silvia Ferrazzoni, PhD; Maria Cristina Scarpa, BS; Gabriella Guarnieri, MD; Massimo Corradi, MD; Antonio Mutti, MD; Piero Maestrelli, MD
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health (Drs. Ferrazzoni, Guarnieri, Maestrelli, and Ms. Scarpa), University of Padova, Padova, Italy; and the Department of Clinical Medicine, Nephrology, and Health Sciences (Drs. Corradi and Mutti), University of Parma, Parma, Italy.

Correspondence to: Piero Maestrelli, MD, Dipartimento di Medicina Ambientale e Sanità Pubblica, Università degli Studi di Padova, via Giustiniani 2, 35128 Padova, Italy; e-mail: piero.maestrelli@unipd.it


This research was supported by the Italian Ministry of University and Research (PRIN 2005); by the University of Padova; and by Associazione Ricerca Cura Asma, Padova, Italy.

The authors have reported to the ACCP that no significant conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2009 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2009;136(1):155-162. doi:10.1378/chest.08-2338
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Background:  We investigated the usefulness of measurements of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) and pH of exhaled breath condensate (EBC) for monitoring airway response after specific inhalation challenges with isocyanates in sensitized subjects.

Methods:  Lung function (FEV1), FeNO, and pH in argon-deaerated EBC were measured before and at intervals up to 30 days after a specific inhalation challenge in 15 subjects with isocyanate asthma, in 24 not sensitized control subjects exposed to isocyanates, and in 3 nonasthmatic subjects with rhinitis induced by isocyanate. Induced sputum was collected before and 24 h after isocyanate exposure.

Results:  Isocyanate-induced asthmatic reactions were associated with a rise in sputum eosinophil levels at 24 h (p < 0.01), and an increase in FeNO at 24 h (p < 0.05) and 48 h (p < 0.005), whereas FeNO level did not vary with isocyanate exposure in subjects with rhinitis and in control subjects. FeNO changes at 24 h positively correlated with corresponding sputum eosinophil changes (ρ = 0.66, p < 0.001). A rise in pH was observed in the afternoon samples of EBC, irrespective of the occurrence of isocyanate-induced asthmatic reactions.

Conclusions:  We demonstrated that isocyanate-induced asthmatic reactions are associated with a consistent delayed increase in FeNO but not with the acidification of EBC.

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