Quantitative detection of nitric oxide in exhaled human breath by extractive electrospray ionization mass spectrometry

Susu Pan, Yong Tian, Ming Li, Jiuyan Zhao, Lanlan Zhu, Wei Zhang, Haiwei Gu, Haidong Wang, Jianbo Shi, Xiang Fang, Penghui Li, Huanwen Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) is a useful biomarker of various physiological conditions, including asthma and other pulmonary diseases. Herein a fast and sensitive analytical method has been developed for the quantitative detection of eNO based on extractive electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (EESI-MS). Exhaled NO molecules selectively reacted with 2-phenyl-4, 4, 5, 5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide (PTIO) reagent, and eNO concentration was derived based on the EESI-MS response of 1-oxyl-2-phenyl-4, 4, 5, 5-tetramethylimidazoline (PTI) product. The method allowed quantification of eNO below ppb level (∼0.02 ppbv) with a relative standard deviation (RSD) of 11.6%. In addition, eNO levels of 20 volunteers were monitored by EESI-MS over the time period of 10 hrs. Long-term eNO response to smoking a cigarette was recorded, and the observed time-dependent profile was discussed. This work extends the application of EESI-MS to small molecules (<30 Da) with low proton affinity and collision-induced dissociation efficiency, which are usually poorly visible by conventional ion trap mass spectrometers. Long-term quantitative profiling of eNO by EESI-MS opens new possibilities for the research of human metabolism and clinical diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8725
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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