Production and absorption of nitric oxide gas in the nose

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1998 Apr;84(4):1217-24. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1998.84.4.1217.


Some nitric oxide gas (NO) produced in the sinuses and nasal cavity is absorbed before leaving the nose. To measure production and absorption, we introduced NO at different concentrations into one nostril while sampling the NO leaving the opposite nostril with the soft palate closed. The quantity of NO gas produced in six normal subjects (amount leaving plus the amount absorbed) averaged 352 nl/min and was the same at gas flows ranging from 8 to 347 ml/min and at 10 l/min. An absorption coefficient A was calculated by dividing the amount of NO absorbed by the concentration leaving the nose. A ranged from 17 ml/min at a nasal gas flow of 8 ml/min to an A of 24 ml/min at a nasal gas flow of 347 ml/min. The calculated rates of production and absorption did not change when gas flow rate was increased, suggesting diffusion equilibrium. The amount of uptake of NO in the nasal mucosa can be explained by its solubility coupled with tissue and blood reactivity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Nasal Cavity / blood supply
  • Nasal Cavity / metabolism
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nose / blood supply
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology


  • Nitric Oxide