• acoustic rhinometry;
  • exercise-induced bronchoconstriction;
  • exhaled nitric oxide;
  • nasal nitric oxide;
  • nasal response to exercise

Background:  Physical exercise is associated with a decrease in nasal resistance in rhinitis and an increase in bronchial resistance in asthma. The objective was to evaluate the relationship between the levels of nasal nitric oxide (nNO) and exhaled bronchial nitric oxide (eNO) with bronchial responses to exercise in patients with rhinitis and asthma.

Methods:  We submitted 24 subjects with asthma and rhinitis to an exercise test. A decrease in FEV1≥15% was considered positive. The volume of the nasal cavity and the minimal cross-sectional area (MCA) was evaluated by means of acoustic rhinometry (AR), and nNO and eNO were evaluated by chemoluminiscence. The measurements were recorded at baseline, 15 and 50 min after the end of the exercise test.

Results:  The exercise test was positive in 17 cases. Fifteen minutes after exercise test, the nasal volume increased by 57% (P < 0.0001) and was still increased by 30% after 50 min (P < 0.0001). There was no correlation between decrease in FEV1 and increase in nasal volume. The baseline value of nNO was 1185 ± 439 ppb, and the value at 15 and 50 min was 1165 ± 413 and 1020 ± 368 ppb, the latter value being significantly lower (P < 0.01) than the baseline. The baseline value of eNO was 21 ± 19 ppb, with no significant differences at 15 and 50 min. There was no significant correlation between either the decrease in FEV1 and the nasal response, or the baseline eNO and nNO values.

Conclusions:  The nasal and bronchial response to exercise is completely different in rhinitis and asthma; in the former, an increase in nasal volume occurs, while in the latter there is a drop in FEV1. There is no relationship between the values of nasal or exhaled NO and the nasal and bronchial response after exercise.