Height, age, and atopy are associated with fraction of exhaled nitric oxide in a large adult general population sample

Chest. 2006 Nov;130(5):1319-25. doi: 10.1378/chest.130.5.1319.


Study objectives: The fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (Feno) is elevated in subjects with asthma and atopy, and it has been proposed to be a noninvasive marker of airway inflammation. In addition to asthma and atopy, there is limited information about the determinants of Feno in a general population.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: A random adult general population sample.

Participants: A total of 2,200 subjects, 1,111 women and 1,089 men, aged 25 to 75 years.

Interventions: The subjects were examined with regard to Feno, pulmonary function, anthropometric variables, and blood samples for Ig E, and completed a respiratory questionnaire. The associations between different determinants and Feno were analyzed with multiple linear regression models.

Results: The median value of Feno was 16.0 parts per billion (ppb), ranging from 2.4 to 199 ppb. Height, age, atopy, reporting of asthma symptoms in the last month, and reported use of inhaled steroids were positively associated with Feno. Current smokers had lower values of Feno. Gender was not associated with Feno.

Conclusions: In this random adult population sample, height, but not gender, was associated with Feno. Furthermore, asthma symptoms in the last month, reported use of inhaled steroids, and atopy were positively and independently associated with Feno, while there was a negative association with smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Body Height*
  • Breath Tests
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exhalation / genetics
  • Exhalation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitric Oxide / analysis*
  • Reference Values
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Smoking / metabolism
  • Smoking / physiopathology
  • Steroids / administration & dosage
  • Steroids / therapeutic use


  • Biomarkers
  • Steroids
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Immunoglobulin E