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A Journal on Internal Medicine
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Panminerva Medica 1999 March;41(1):43-4
Nitrite plasma levels in chronic lung disease patients
Ferlito S., Gallina M.
From the Chair of Semeiology and Medical Methodology University of Catania, Italy
Background. The authors carried out a study in a group of lung disease patients, about the behaviour of the plasmatic levels of nitrites (stable, specific and irreversible end-products of nitric oxide).
Methods. The series consisted of 13 male patients (mean age 65±7 years) with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with type 1 respiratory failure; 33 male subjects (mean age 58±5 years) without internistic disease were considered as controls.
For each subject the determination of nitrite plasma levels by the Gutman and Hollywood method based on the Griess colorimetric reaction was performed.
Results. The mean value of the plasmatic nitrites was significantly reduced (p<0.05) as compared to the controls (11±0.48 μmol/l vs 21±0.92 μmol/l).
Conclusions. The authors hypothesized that in chronic lung disease patients there would be a condition of initial pulmonary hypertension; in this condition long-term endothelium-dependent nitric oxide production, aimed at the vasodilating effects with secondary excessive exhaled amount of NO, might cause a reduction in nitrite plasma levels. These levels may represent an early marker of pulmonary hypertension and suggest interesting therapeutic treatments through inhalation of exogenous NO.