Exhaled nitric oxide in seasonal allergic rhinitis: influence of pollen season and therapy

Clin Exp Allergy. 2001 Mar;31(3):409-16. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2222.2001.01001.x.


Exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) has been proposed as a potential indirect marker of lower airway inflammation in asthma. To investigate the existence of lower airways inflammation in allergic rhinitis eNO measurements were performed in 32 patients with symptomatic and asymptomatic seasonal allergic rhinitis early in and out of pollen seasons and in 80 healthy volunteers. To further define how exhaled NO is modified by therapy, NO levels were detected following 1-month treatment with either inhaled steroids or non-steroids therapy with nedocromil. Exhaled NO (mean +/- SE) was significantly elevated in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis with and without symptoms (24.2 + 2.5 and 13.9 + 2.9 ppb, respectively) as compared to healthy volunteers (4.5 + 0.3 ppb) both in and out of pollen season (21.2 + 2.1 and 9.0 + 1.4 p.p.b., respectively) with a higher increase during the allergen exposure in season. Higher levels of exhaled NO were detected in patients with symptoms, either from the upper or lower airways, and with bronchial hyperreactivity. The increased exhaled NO in symptomatic patients was reduced only by inhaled steroids and not by nedocromil. These findings possibly suggest the existence of lower airway inflammation in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis in and out of pollen season. Thus, exhaled NO may be used as a non-invasive index for early detection of lower airway inflammation and for monitoring the optional treatment in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens* / immunology
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nedocromil / therapeutic use
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Pollen* / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / drug therapy
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / metabolism*
  • Steroids / therapeutic use


  • Allergens
  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Steroids
  • Nedocromil
  • Nitric Oxide