© 2015 Zhang et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. While the fractional concentration of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) has proven useful in asthma research, its exact role in clinical care remains unclear, in part due to unexplained inter-subject heterogeneity. In this study, we assessed the hypothesis that the effects of determinants of the fractional concentration of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) vary with differing levels of FeNO. In a population-based cohort of 1542 school children aged 12-15 from the Southern California Children's Health Study, we used quantile regression to investigate if the relationships of asthma, socio-demographic and clinical covariates with FeNO vary across its distribution. Differences in FeNO between children with and without asthma increased steeply as FeNO increased (Estimated asthma effects (in ppb) at selected 20th, 50th and 80th percentiles of FeNO are 2.4, 6 .3 and 22.2, respectively) but the difference was steeper with increasing FeNO in boys and in children with active rhinitis (p-values < 0.01). Active rhinitis also showed significantly larger effects on FeNO at higher concentrations of FeNO (Estimated active rhinitis effects (in ppb) at selected 20th, 50th and 80th percentiles of FeNO are 2.1, 5.7 and 14.3, respectively). Boys and children of Asian descent had higher FeNO than girls and non-Hispanic whites; these differences were significantly larger in those with higher FeNO (p-values < 0.01). In summary, application of quantile regression techniques provides new insights into the determinants of FeNO showing substantially varying effects in those with high versus low concentrations.
Zhang, Y., Berhane, K., Eckel, S. P., Salam, M. T., Linn, W. S., Rappaport, E. B., … Gilliland, F. D. (2015). Determinants of children’s exhaled nitric oxide: New insights from quantile regression. PLoS ONE, 10(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0130505