Background. Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) has been proposed as a biomarker of airway inflammation for cohort studies of asthma. Objectives. To assess the association between FeNO and asthma symptoms among 7-year-old children living in an inner-city community. To test the association between environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure (previous and current) and FeNO among these children. Methods. As part of a longitudinal study of asthma, children recruited in Head Start centers at age 4 had offline FeNO and lung function testing at age 7. Children with allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) (≥0.35 IU/mL) at age 7 were considered seroatopic. ETS exposure at ages 4 and 7 was assessed by questionnaire. Results. Of 144 participating children, 89 had complete questionnaire data and achieved valid FeNO and lung function tests. Children with reported wheeze in the previous 12 months (n = 19) had higher FeNO than those without wheeze (n = 70) (geometric means 17.0 vs. 11.0 ppb, p = .005). FeNO remained significantly associated with wheeze (p = .031), after adjusting for seroatopy and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV 1) in multivariable regression. FeNO at age 7 was positively associated with domestic ETS exposure at age 4 (29% (β = 0.36, p = .015) but inversely associated with ETS exposure at age 7 (16%) (β = -0.74, p < .001). Conclusions. Given its association with current wheeze, independent of seroatopy and lung function, FeNO provides a relevant outcome measure for studies in inner-city communities. While compelling, the positive association between ETS exposure at age 4 and a marker of airway inflammation at age 7 should be confirmed in a larger study.
- environmental tobacco smoke
- exhaled nitric oxide