Effect of cigarette smoking on nitric oxide, structural, and mechanical properties of mouse arteries

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006 Nov;291(5):H2354-61. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00376.2006. Epub 2006 Jun 30.


Cigarette smoking (CS) is a major risk factor for vascular disease. The aim of this study was to quantitatively assess the influence of CS on mouse arteries. We studied the effect of short-term (6 wk) and long-term (16 wk) CS exposure on structural and mechanical properties of coronary arteries compared with that of control mice. We also examined the reversibility of the deleterious effects of CS on structural [e.g., wall thickness (WT)], mechanical (e.g., stiffness), and biochemical [e.g., nitric oxide (NO) by-products] properties with the cessation of CS. The left and right coronary arteries were cannulated in situ and mechanically distended. The stress, strain, elastic modulus, and WT of coronary arteries were determined. Western blot analysis was used to analyze endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) in the femoral and carotid arteries of the same mice, and NO by-products were determined by measuring the levels of nitrite. Our results show that the mean arterial pressure was increased by CS. Furthermore, CS significantly increased the elastic modulus, decreased stress and strain, and increased the WT and WT-to-radius ratio compared with those of control mice. The reduction of eNOS protein expression was found only after long-term CS exposure. Moreover, the NO metabolite was markedly decreased in CS mice after short- and long-term exposure of CS. These findings suggest that 16 wk of CS exposure can cause an irreversible deterioration of structural and elastic properties of mouse coronary arteries. The decrease in endothelium-derived NO in CS mice was seen to significantly correlate with the remodeling of arterial wall.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteries / cytology*
  • Arteries / physiology*
  • Carotid Arteries / enzymology
  • Elasticity
  • Femoral Artery / enzymology
  • Homozygote
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Nitrites / analysis
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Time Factors


  • Nitrites
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II