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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 10, Issue 2, Pages 69-73

Increased urinary nitrite, a marker of nitric oxide, in active inflammatory bowel disease

Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity College, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St. James Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background: Nitric oxide (NO) production is increased in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and measurement of NO metabolites may be useful for monitoring disease activity.

Aims and objectives: To characterise urinary nitrite levels, a stable metabolite of NO, in IBD and to evaluate its potential as a marker of disease activity.

Methods: Twelve-hour urinary nitrites were measured by the microplate assay method in 46 patients with IBD (active; n = 32). Urinary samples from 16 healthy individuals served as controls.

Results: Increased levels of urinary nitrites were found in patients with active IBD compared with those with inactive IBD. Twenty-eight out of 32 patients (87.5%) with active IBD had detectable levels of nitrite in their urine as compared with 2/14 (14.3%) patients with inactive IBD. None of the 16 healthy controls had detectable urinary nitrite. Twelve-hour urinary nitrite in active compared with inactive IBD: 5 Ī 0.7 versus 0.1 Ī 0.04 μ mol (P<0.05). There was good correlation between urinary nitrite and some markers of disease activity in IBD such as C-reactive protein and microalbuminuria but not with erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

Conclusions: Increased levels of nitrite were detected in urine of patients with active IBD, consistent with increased NO synthesis. This simple assay may be exploited as a potential marker of disease activity in IBD.