Exhaled NO and assessment of anti-inflammatory effects of inhaled steroid: dose-response relationship

S L Jones, P Herbison, J O Cowan, E M Flannery, R J Hancox, C R McLachlan, D R Taylor
European Respiratory Journal 2002, 20 (3): 601-8
Exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) is an easily measured marker of airway inflammation. This study was undertaken to evaluate the usefulness of serial eNO in investigating the dose-response relationship for inhaled beclomethasone (BDP), and to compare eNO with other markers of airway inflammation. Following withdrawal of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy, 65 patients entered a double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial of 50, 100, 200 or 500 microg x BDP x day(-1) for eight weeks. eNO and spirometry were performed weekly and a hypertonic saline challenge with sputum induction was performed at the beginning and end of treatment. The relationship between the dose of ICS and changes in eNO and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was linear at 1 week and at the end of treatment. A linear dose-response relationship was also seen for sputum eosinophils. Changes in eNO correlated significantly with changes in sputum eosinophils. Changes in the provocative dose of saline causing a 15% fall in FEV1 saline did not differ across the treatment groups nor did they correlate with changes in other measurements. Exhaled nitric oxide may be used to assess the dose-response relationship for the anti-inflammatory effects of inhaled beclomethasone. The relationship found in this study was linear over the dose range 0-500 microg x day(-1) soon after commencing therapy and continued over time.

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