Assessment of Salivary Nitric Oxide Levels in Elite University Athletes in Japan: Findings From a Cross Sectional Study Design

Ryota Sone, Kai Matsuba, Rei Tahara, Nobuhiko Eda, Keisei Kosaki, Subrina Jesmin, Shumpei Miyakawa, Koichi Watanabe


Background: High-intensity exercise affects the level of salivary nitric oxide (NO) with an impact on oxidative stress such as a reactive nitrogen-oxide species. However, in athletes with high-intensity training, the relationship between salivary NO levels and oxidative stress is yet to be clear. Additionally, the association of salivary NO levels and the common health disorders of athletes is unknown. Thus, the aim of this cross-sectional study was to clarify the relationship between salivary NO levels and oxidative stress, and the health/medical disorders existing in elite class university athletes.

Methods: In 250 athletes (males, 151 and females, 99) from undergraduate levels of Japanese University, we investigated the relationship between levels of salivary NO and oxidative stress markers: derived reactive oxygen species (d-ROMs) and biological antioxidant potential (BAP), and also examined that whether salivary NO levels are associated with diseases.

Results: There were no significant association between the levels of salivary NO and oxidative stress markers (such as d-ROM and BAP). From the questionnaire, asthma was the most prevalent as evident from medical history of the athletes. Additionally, the salivary NO levels were higher (520 43 mol/L vs. 375 13 mol/L, P < 0.05) in the asthma group (n = 9) than in the non-asthma group (n = 241). We determined the optimal cut-off value (P = 0.019) of the salivary NO levels for asthma was 425 mol/L, with a sensitivity of 88.9% and specificity of 61.8% (area under the curve (AUC), 0.73).

Conclusions: Our results suggest that the high levels of salivary NO in trained university athletes in Japan may potentially predict asthma. And this salivary NO level is not associated with markers of oxidative stress and existing diseases in athletes studied here.

J Clin Med Res. 2019;11(2):114-120


Nitric oxide; Oxidative stress; Asthma; Condition marker; Japanese athletes

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