Objective: To relate levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its soluble receptor, sFIt-1, with endothelial function in healthy smokers. Methods: Plasma levels of VEGF and sFlt-1 were measured by ELISA in 22 healthy smokers and 22 matched healthy non-smoking controls, and compared to flow- (FMD) and acetylcholine-mediated (AMD) vasodilatation (endothelial-dependent) (EDV) and nitroglycerine-mediated (NMD) vasodilatation (endothelial-independent) of lower extremities were measured with plethysmography. Results: Smokers and controls had similar plasma VEGF levels, but sFlt-1 levels were lower in smokers than in controls (p <0.01). AMD was lower in smokers compared to controls (p 12 ml/100 ml tissue/min) had significantly lower plasma VEGF levels (p <0.001). An inverse correlation was found in both groups, between VEGF and AMD (smokers: r=-0.6, p <0.01; controls: r=-0.71, p <0.005) and with FMD (smokers: r=-0.56, p <0.05; controls: r=-0.58, p <0.005). There were no significant correlations between sFIt-1 with VEGF levels or endothelial-dependent dilatation. Conclusion: In conclusion, healthy smokers demonstrate abnormal AMD, and an inverse correlation between plasma VEGF levels (but not sFlt-1) with indices of endothelial dysfunction (FMD and AMD) exists. VEGF, and not sFlt-1, may be related to the pathogenesis of endothelial dysfunction in healthy smoking individuals. (c) 2004 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
- vascular endothelial growth factor
- soluble Flt-1
- endothelial dysfunction