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J Neurol Sci. 2002 Dec 15;205(1):15-20.

Short-term effect of cigarette smoking on CO(2)-induced vasomotor reactivity in man: a study with near-infrared spectroscopy and tanscranial Doppler sonography.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Philosophenweg 3, 07740 Jena, Germany.


Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for stroke, and quitting reduces the stroke risk within a few years. The aim of our study was to clarify whether CO(2)-induced vasomotor reactivity (VMR) is impaired in smokers after smoking a cigarette as a possible factor of an increased stroke risk. We compared VMR of 23 healthy smokers assessed at baseline, immediately, and 30 min after smoking a cigarette (1.2 mg nicotine) with values from nonsmoking, age-matched controls (n=24), obtained at identical time intervals. Cerebral blood flow velocities (CBFV) of both middle cerebral arteries (transcranial Doppler sonography), changes in concentration of cerebral oxygenated, deoxygenated, and total hemoglobin (HbO(2), Hb, and HbT, near-infrared spectroscopy), mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), and skin blood flow were recorded during normo- and hypercapnia. VMR was calculated as percentage change in CBFV and as micromolar change in concentration of HbO(2), Hb, and HbT per 1% increase in endtidal CO(2). CBFV in smokers was increased at baseline (left, p<0.05; right, p=0.05), immediately (p<0.01), and 30 min after smoking (p<0.05) as compared with nonsmokers. MAP rose immediately after smoking (p<0.01) and declined after 30 min. VMR in smokers at baseline did not differ from controls, decreased immediately after smoking (p<0.05), and normalized after 30 min (p>0.05). Increased baseline CBFV in smokers after smoking might be due to arteriolar dilation, increased MAP, and possibly constriction of basal cerebral arteries. Impaired VMR for about 30 min after smoking reflects endothelial dysfunction. This might contribute to the enhanced stroke risk in smokers.

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