Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains one of the major killers in modern society. One strong risk factor of CVD is cigarette smoking that causes myocardial injury and leads to the genesis of pathological cardiovascular events. However, the exact toxic component(s) of cigarette smoke (CS) and its molecular and cellular mechanisms for causing myocardial injury leading to heart damage and its prevention are largely unknown.
Using a guinea pig model, here we show that chronic exposure to CS produces myocardial injury that is prevented by vitamin C. Male guinea pigs were fed either vitamin C-deficient (0.5 mg/day) or vitamin C-sufficient (15 mg/day) diet and subjected to CS exposure from 5 Kentucky Research cigarettes (3R4F)/day (6 days/week) in a smoke chamber up to 8 weeks. Pair-fed sham controls were subjected to air exposure instead of CS exposure under similar conditions. Myocardial injury was produced in CS-exposed marginal vitamin C-deficient guinea pigs as evidenced by release of cardiac Troponin-T and I in the serum, oxidative stress, inflammation, apoptosis, thrombosis and collagen deposition in the myocardium. Treatment of rat cardiomyocyte cells (H9c2)
The results indicate that dietary supplementation of vitamin C may be a novel and simple therapy for the prevention of pathological cardiovascular events in habitual smokers.