Vitamins E, C and lipid peroxidation in plasma and arterial tissue of smokers and non-smokers

Atherosclerosis. 1995 Jan 6;112(1):91-9. doi: 10.1016/0021-9150(94)05403-6.


An imbalance between pro-oxidants and antioxidants is operative in atherosclerosis. Cigarette smoke is a major risk factor of atherosclerosis and has been reported to contain large amounts of oxidants. We assessed arterial (internal mammary artery) and plasma levels of vitamins E and C and lipid peroxides in 48 male patients, 24 smokers and 24 non-smokers, undergoing coronary bypass surgery. Lipid peroxidation was studied using fluorescent products of lipid peroxidation (FPLs). Tissue vitamins E and C levels were significantly lower and FPLs significantly higher in smokers than in non-smokers (P < 0.0006, 0.0005 and 0.0005, respectively). This pattern was associated with lower vitamin C and higher lipid peroxide plasma levels in smokers than in non-smokers (P < 0.0002 and 0.0005, respectively). Vitamins E and C plasma levels were strongly related to their tissue content both in smokers (r = 0.60, P < 0.005 and r = 0.57, P < 0.01) and in non-smokers (r = 0.42, P < 0.05 and r = 0.46, P < 0.05). Moreover, vitamin E content was significantly related to that of vitamin C only in the arterial tissue of both groups, pointing to the existence of a functional interaction between these antioxidants. In both groups, FPLs were significantly and inversely related to vitamin C in plasma and to vitamin E in tissue, suggesting the antioxidant primary of vitamin C and vitamin E in the plasma and arterial tissue compartments, respectively.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Arteries / chemistry*
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking / metabolism*
  • Vitamin E / blood
  • Vitamin E / metabolism*


  • Vitamin E
  • Ascorbic Acid