, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 391-399

Nasal, pulmonary and autoinhaled nitric oxide at rest and during moderate exercise

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Objective: To investigate nasal nitric oxide (NO) excretion, pulmonary NO excretion, and autoinhalation of nasally released NO at rest compared with that during moderate exercise in smokers and non-smokers.¶Design: Prospective observational study.¶Setting: University laboratory.¶Participants: Fourteen healthy adult volunteers.¶Interventions: Breathing of NO-purified air supplied via a tube system at rest and during a bicycle-ergometer workload of 60 Watt over a time of 10 min.¶Measurement and results: We examined nasal and pulmonary NO excretion in smoking (n = 7) and non-smoking (n = 7) adult human volunteers. At rest, we measured constant nasal NO excretion rates of 311 ± 89 nl/min for non-smokers and 261 ± 142 nl/min for smokers (mean ± SD, n. s.). During 60 W exercise, nasal NO release remained unchanged, while pulmonary NO excretion doubled compared with the rates at rest (non-smokers: 40 ± 21 nl/min versus 23 ± 14 nl/min, p < 0.05; smokers: 41 ± 8 nl/min versus 22 ± 8 nl/min, p < 0.05). The differences between smokers and non-smokers in nasal or pulmonary NO excretion were not significant. To determine the autoinhaled amount of nasally released NO, we also measured the NO concentration within the nasopharynx of five volunteers during nasal breathing. The average inhaled NO concentration was 17.8 ± 3.1 ppb at rest and this decreased to 9.3 ± 1.8 ppb during exercise of 60 W, while minute ventilation approximately doubled from 9 ± 2 to 21 ± 3 l/min.¶Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that moderate exercise increased exclusively pulmonary NO excretion. Nasal NO release, which is 10 times higher at rest, was not changed. The decrease in autoinhaled NO concentration during exercise results from dilution of the continuous nasal release by the increased respiratory gas flow. The individual NO release allows no conclusion about smoking habits.