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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2004 Jul;44(1):117-24.

Vitamin C has no effect on endothelium-dependent vasomotion and acute endogenous fibrinolysis in healthy smokers.

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Clinical Pharmacology Unit and Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK.


Blood flow and plasma fibrinolytic factors were measured on five occasions in both forearms of eight otherwise healthy male smokers during unilateral brachial artery infusion of the endothelium-dependent vasodilator, substance P (2 to 8 pmol/min), and the endothelium-independent vasodilator, sodium nitroprusside (2 to 8 microg/min). On the first occasion, intra-arterial vitamin C was co-infused at 25 mg/min. On subsequent occasions, subjects attended after 28 and 35 days treatment with oral vitamin C (1 g daily) or placebo in a double-blind randomized crossover design still smoking but with and without acute smoke inhalation (3 cigarettes over 30 minutes). Basal plasma ascorbate concentrations increased from 37 +/- 6 micromol/L to 105 +/- 11 micromol/L following oral vitamin C supplementation (P = 0.002). Substance P caused dose-dependent increases in forearm blood flow (P < 0.001, ANOVA) and t-PA release (P < 0.05, ANOVA) that was unaffected by acute recent smoke inhalation, intra-arterial vitamin C, or oral vitamin C administration (p = ns). Likewise there were no effects on sodium nitroprusside-induced vasodilatation (p = ns). Neither acute local intra-arterial nor prolonged oral vitamin C supplementation reverses smoking-related endothelial dysfunction and impaired endogenous t-PA release. We conclude that the adverse vascular actions of smoking are not principally mediated through oxidative stress.

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