Exposure to secondhand smoke promotes sympathetic activity and cardiac muscle cachexia

Int J Environ Health Res. 2014;24(3):189-94. doi: 10.1080/09603123.2013.800966. Epub 2013 Jun 26.


Recent trials demonstrated that a single brief exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) generates acute adverse health effects. We evaluated the acute (immediately after exposure) and short-term (0.5, 1, 2, 3 and 4 h after exposure) effects of SHS on cardiac autonomic control and myocardial integrity. Nineteen adult healthy never-smokers underwent a 1 h exposure to SHS at bar/restaurant levels and a 1 h control exposure. Heart rate variability (HRV), serum cotinine, and six cardiac protein markers were assessed before, during, and up to four hours following each exposure. SHS reduced the standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals and increased cotinine levels, creatine kinase (CK)-MB, and myoglobin (p < 0.05). We conclude that acute exposure to SHS suppresses HRV and augments CK-MB and myoglobin. The SHS-induced elevations in CK-MB and myoglobin may reflect a generalized lytic state, especially of the cardiac muscle, which is apparent for at least 2 h following the SHS exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cotinine / blood
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Heart / innervation
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Myoglobin / blood
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Myoglobin
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Cotinine