Exhaled nitric oxide (NO) is a recognized biomarker in the lower respiratory tract. The effect of large variation in body mass on exhaled NO in the same individuals is not well known. The aim of the study was to evaluate both the effect of severe obesity and the influence of weight reduction on exhaled NO. A consecutive series of 24 uncomplicated obese patients (OB), who had laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) and 15 healthy controls (HC) were studied. Body mass index (BMI), exhaled NO and respiratory function tests were assessed. Exhaled NO was lower in obese in comparison to HC (12.0+/-3.6ppb versus 15.8+/-4.0ppb, p=0.0035). A significant positive correlation was found between exhaled NO and BMI in HC, which was not evident in OB. Among the respiratory indexes, functional residual capacity was significantly associated to exhaled NO. After 1 year, 12 obese patients undergone to LAGB were re-evaluated. Mean BMI (kg/m(2)) decreased from 44.8 before surgery to 32.3 post-operatively. The exhaled NO increased from 11.8+/-3.2ppb before surgery to 14.9+/-3.1ppb 1 year post-operatively (p=0.0023, n=12). In conclusion exhaled NO is consistently reduced in severe obesity and it is restored after weight reduction. The relationship between exhaled NO, large body mass excess and decrease of resting lung volume in severe obesity deserves further studies.
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