Exhaled nasal nitric oxide output is reduced in humans at night during the sleep period

Daniel J. O'Hearn, George D. Giraud, Jeffrey M. Sippel, Chad Edwards, Benjamin Chan, William E. Holden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The physiologic function of nasal nitric oxide (NO) release is unknown. In prior experiments, topical NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME) on nasal mucosa reduced exhaled nasal NO output and caused daytime sleepiness. We hypothesized that nasal NO output is reduced at night during the sleep period. We measured exhaled nasal NO concentration and minute ventilation and calculated nasal NO output in humans over 24 h. Daytime awake NO output was greater than NO output at night during sleep or transient wakefulness. Exhaled NO concentration decreased during sleep along with minute ventilation. A daytime voluntary reduction in minute ventilation also decreased nasal NO output but exhaled NO concentration increased. Nasal NO output was not changed by body position. We conclude that exhaled nasal NO output is decreased at night due to decreased mass flow of NO into nasal air in addition to decreased minute ventilation. Our findings suggest a role of nasal NO in sleep or in the physiologic processes accompanying sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-101
Number of pages8
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 15 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Nitric oxide
  • Nose
  • Sleep
  • Somnolence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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