Air pollution and increased levels of fractional exhaled nitric oxide in children with no history of airway damage

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2010;73(4):272-83. doi: 10.1080/15287390903249206.


Air pollution is associated with a wide range of adverse respiratory events. In order to study the mechanism associated with these effects, the relationships between fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), a potential marker of airway inflammation, and exposure to air pollution were examined in schoolchildren. FeNO was measured in 104 children (34 asthmatics and 70 non-asthmatics) drawn from the general population simultaneously with air pollution assessments (fine particles with an aerodiameter under 2.5 microm, nitrogen dioxide, acetaldehyde, and formaldehyde, with pumps and passive samplers) in schoolyards and classrooms. Asthmatics exhaled more FeNO than non-asthmatics. FeNO levels were significantly elevated in both asthmatic and non-asthmatic children exposed to high concentrations of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and PM(2.5). Differences between high versus low exposure in non-asthmatics resulted in an FeNO increase ranging from 45% for indoor acetaldehyde to 62% for indoor PM(2.5). Stronger associations were found in non-asthmatic children who were atopic, suggesting that atopic children may be more sensitive to air pollution than non-atopic children. Exposure to air pollution may lead to airway inflammation, as measured by FeNO, in schoolchildren. These associations occur even in children with no history of airway damage and seem to be enhanced in atopic subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Biomarkers
  • Child
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide / chemistry*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Biomarkers
  • Nitric Oxide