Nitric oxide (NO) is both a gas and a ubiquitous inter- and intracellular messenger with numerous physiological functions. As its synthesis is markedly increased during inflammatory processes, NO can be used as a surrogate marker of acute and/or chronic inflammation. It is possible to quantify fractional concentration of NO in exhaled breath (FENO) to detect airway inflammation, and thus improve the diagnosis of asthma by better characterizing asthmatic patients with eosinophilic bronchial inflammation, and eventually improve the management of targeted asthmatic patients. FENO measurement can therefore be viewed as a new, reproducible and easy to perform pulmonary function test. Measuring FENO is the only non-invasive pulmonary function test allowing (1) detecting, (2) quantifying and (3) monitoring changes in inflammatory processes during the course of various respiratory disorders, including corticosensitive asthma.
Keywords: Air exhalé; Airway inflammation; Asthma; Asthme; Eosinophils; Exhaled breath; Inflammation des voies aériennes; Nitric oxide; Oxyde nitrique; Éosinophiles.
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