Air pollution is associated with increased level of exhaled nitric oxide in nonsmoking healthy subjects

Arch Environ Health. Sep-Oct 1999;54(5):331-5. doi: 10.1080/00039899909602496.


The authors sought to determine which air pollutant is responsible for the increase in exhaled nitric oxide observed in healthy subjects. Exhaled nitric oxide was measured in 16 nonsmoking healthy subjects on 14 workdays, during which there were varying air-pollution levels. Contamination of samples by ambient nitric oxide was excluded. The baseline value of exhaled nitric oxide, determined at times when outdoor air pollution was low, ranged from 7 to 43 ppb (mean = 28+/-5 ppb). The daily value of exhaled nitric oxide (range = 5-60 ppb) was associated positively with ambient carbon monoxide (r = .85) and nitric oxide (r = .81). Exposure during the morning hours to high levels of outdoor pollution was associated with increased exhaled nitric oxide (i.e., 50% above baseline), which persisted for up to 5 h (i.e., 32% above baseline). These results indicated that exhaled nitric oxide levels represent a useful biomonitor of individual exposure to air pollutants.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Biomarkers
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Reference Values


  • Biomarkers
  • Nitric Oxide