Background: The origin of Behçet's disease (BD) is unclear. One of the prominent features of BD is vasculitis and thrombosis as a result of endothelial dysfunction. Because nitric oxide (NO) is synthesized by endothelium, we considered it as an interesting target of investigation in BD.
Objective: Our purpose was to define the level of NO in the serum of patients with BD and its relation with disease activity.
Methods: As an indicator for NO, serum total nitrite levels (end product of NO) were measured by Griess reaction in 52 consecutive patients with BD and compared with 32 age- and sex-matched healthy staff volunteers. Serum NO levels of active and inactive patients were compared.
Results: The overall serum nitrite levels in patients with BD (40.25 +/- 10.51 micromol/L) were significantly higher (P <.001) than those in healthy volunteers (25.09 +/- 5.33 micromol/L). The difference in serum total nitrite levels among patients with active BD (46.74 +/- 10.62 micromol/L) and inactive BD (33.24 +/- 3.73 micromol/L) was significant (P <.001). Significant differences were observed in serum nitrite levels between patients in the inactive period of BD and the control group (P <.001).
Conclusion: Increased NO production might be responsible for the overall inflammatory process of BD. NO seems to be related to disease activity.