Airway remodelling, which is manifested by thickening of bronchial wall, is an important causative factor of bronchial hyper-responsiveness in asthma. The pathophysiological mechanism of airway remodelling is not clear. In the present study we evaluated the relationship between nitric oxide (NO) generation and airway wall thickening in patients with chronic asthma. As a marker of NO production, the levels of nitrite/nitrate were measured in induced sputum, and bronchial wall thickening was measured by high-resolution computed tomography. Sputum concentrations of nitrite/nitrate were significantly increased in asthmatic patients compared with controls. The ratio of airway wall thickness to lumen diameter was significantly correlated with the sputum concentration of nitrite/nitrate. Although statistical correlation does not prove causation, this finding suggests that NO may play a key role in the pathogenesis of airway remodelling.

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