Volatile organic breath components and exercise induced bronchoconstriction in asthmatic children

M.R. van der Kamp*, J.M.M. Driessen, M.P. van der Schee, B.J. Thio, F.H.C. de Jongh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Introduction: Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in childhood and is generally characterized by exercise induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). Assessing EIB is time consuming and expensive as it requires a fully equipped pulmonary function laboratory. Analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in breath is a novel technique for examining biomarkers which may associate with asthma features. The aim of this pilot study was to identify potential markers in the relationship between EIB and VOCs.

Methods: Children between four and 14 years old were asked to provide a breath sample prior to undergoing an exercise challenge test to assess for EIB.

Results: Breath samples were collected and analyzed in 46 asthmatic children, 21 with EIB and 25 without EIB (NO-EIB). Molecular features (MFs) were not significantly different between EIB and NO-EIB controls. 29 of the 46 children were corticosteroid naïve, 10 with EIB and 13 without. In the corticosteroid naïve group EIB was associated with increased MF23 and MF14 in the lower breath sample (p-value < 0.05).

Conclusion: This pilot study shows that EIB was related to an increased MF14 and MF23 in corticosteroid naïve children. The tentative identities of these compounds are octanal and dodecane/tetradecane respectively. These candidate biomarkers have a potential to enable non-invasive diagnosis of EIB in steroid-naïve children. Trial registration This study is registered in the Netherlands trial register (trial no. NL6087) at 14 February 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121
JournalAllergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Asthma
  • Breath condensate
  • Children
  • Exercise induced bronchoconstriction
  • Salbutamol


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