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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.

Original publication




Journal article


J cardiovasc pharmacol

Publication Date





117 - 124


Adult, Antioxidants, Ascorbic Acid, Blood Pressure, Cross-Over Studies, Double-Blind Method, Endothelium, Vascular, Fibrinolysis, Heart Rate, Humans, Male, Nitroprusside, Smoking, Substance P, Tissue Plasminogen Activator, Vasodilation, Vasodilator Agents