Lung diffusion capacity for nitric oxide and carbon monoxide is impaired similarly following short-term graded exercise

Nitric Oxide. 2005 Feb;12(1):31-8. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2004.11.002. Epub 2004 Dec 22.


Study aimed to determine whether short-term graded exercise affects single-breath lung diffusion capacity for nitric oxide (DLNO) and carbon monoxide (DLCO) similarly, and whether the DLNO/DLCO ratios during rest are altered post-exercise compared to pre-exercise. Eleven healthy subjects (age=29+/-6 years; weight=76.6+/-13.2 kg; height=177.9+/-13.2 cm; and maximal oxygen uptake or V(.-)(O(2max) = 52.7 +/- 9.3 ml kg(-1) min(-1))performed simultaneous single-breath DLNO and DLCO measurements at rest (inspired NO concentration=43.2+/-4.1 ppm, inspired CO concentration=0.30%) 15 min before and 2h after a graded exercise test to exhaustion (exercise duration=593+/-135 s). Resting DLNO and DLCO was similarly reduced 2h post-exercise (DLNO=-7.8+/-3.5%, DLCO=-10.3+/-6.9%, and P<0.05) due to reductions in pulmonary capillary blood volume (-11.3+/-9.0%, P<0.05) and membrane diffusing capacity for CO (-7.8+/-3.5%; P<0.05). The change in DLCO was reflected by the change in DLNO post-exercise such that 68% of the variance in the change in DLCO was accounted for by the variance in the change in DLNO (P<0.05). The DLNO/DLCO ratio was not altered post-exercise (5.87+/-0.37) compared to pre-exercise (5.70+/-0.34). We conclude that the decrease in single-breath DLNO and DLCO from pre- to post-exercise is similar, the magnitude of the change in DLCO closely reflects that of the change in DLNO, and single-breath DLNO/DLCO ratios are independent of the timing of measurement suggesting that using NO and CO transfer gases are valid in looking at short-term changes in lung diffusional conductance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbon Monoxide / administration & dosage
  • Carbon Monoxide / metabolism*
  • Exercise Test*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide / administration & dosage
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity / physiology*


  • Nitric Oxide
  • Carbon Monoxide