Plasma nitric oxide (NO), mycloperoxidase (MPO), and iron (Fe) levels were determined in bronchial asthma. The relations among these parameters in different stages of asthma were interpreted. Their association with airway inflammation observed in patients with bronchial asthma as well as the roles and the: contributions to the pathological processes were evaluated. A total of 62 individuals, 32 asthmatics and 30 controls, were included into the scope of this study. Plasma nitric oxide metabolites (NOx) and MPO and Fe levels were determined by the Griess reaction, ELISA, and the automated TPTZ (2,4,6-tri[2-pyridyl]-5-triazine) method, respectively. In the asthmatic individuals, plasma NOx, MPO, and Fe concentrations were 133 +/- 13 muM, 95 +/- 20 ng/ml, and 159 +/- 20 mug/dl, respectively; in the control group these values were 82 +/- 11 muM, 62 +/- 11 ng/ml, and 96 9 mug/dl. Increased values were detected for plasma MPO (p > 0.05), NOx (p < 0.01), and Fe (p < 0.01) concentrations in asthmatic individuals. Considering the facts that NO modulates the catalytic activity of MPO and induces the expression of heme oxygenase as important contributors to the mechanisms causing free Fe release, it is concluded that elevated NOx, MPO, and Fe levels observed in the asthmatic group act in a concerted manner and appear to be involved in the pathogenesis of asthma.