Background: Asthmatic patients have high exhaled nitric oxide (NO) levels. NO-mediated inflammatory actions are mainly due to NO conversion into reactive nitrogen species, which can lead to nitrotyrosine formation. The aim of this study was to assess 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT) levels in exhaled breath condensate (EBC) of asthmatic and healthy children and to investigate whether there is any relationship with exhaled NO (FE(NO)) and lung function.
Methods: The study included 20 asthmatic children (10 steroid-naive with intermittent asthma, 10 steroid-treated with unstable persistent asthma) and 18 healthy controls. They underwent FE(NO) measurement, EBC collection and spirometry. 3-NT was measured by a new liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method in isotopic dilution.
Results: The median EBC concentration of 3-NT (expressed as nitrotyrosine/tyrosine ratio x 100) in asthmatic children was fivefold higher than in healthy subjects [0.23% (0.12-0.32) vs 0.04% (0.02-0.06), P < 0.001] with no difference between steroid-naive and unstable steroid-treated asthmatic patients. FE(NO) levels were higher in asthmatic [44.6 ppb (36.0-66.0)] than in healthy children [7.5 ppb (6.0-8.8), P < 0.001]. No correlation was found among 3-NT, FE(NO) and lung function parameters.
Conclusion: Nitrotyrosine is high in EBC of asthmatic children and could be considered as a noninvasive marker of nitrosative events in the airways.