Effect of an inhaled glucocorticoid on endothelial function in healthy smokers

Eliana S. Mendes, Gabor Horvath, Patricia Rebolledo, Maria Elena Monzon, S. Marina Casalino-Matsuda, Adam Wanner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Cigarette smoking is associated with attenuated endothelium-dependent vasodilation (endothelial dysfunction) in the systemic circulation, including the airway circulation. We wished to determine whether an inhaled corticosteroid could restore endothelial function in the airway of lung-healthy current smokers, ex-smokers, and nonsmokers. We measured baseline airway blood flow (Q̇aw) and Q̇aw reactivity to inhaled albuterol as an index of endothelium-dependent vasodilation and to sublingual nitroglycerin as an index of endothelium-independent vasodilation in lung-healthy current smokers, ex-smokers, and nonsmokers. Current smokers were then treated with inhaled fluticasone for 3 wk, and all measurements were repeated after fluticasone treatment and after a subsequent 3-wk fluticasone washout period. Baseline mean Q̇aw and endothelium-independent Q̇aw reactivity were similar in the three groups. Mean endothelium-dependent Q̇aw reactivity was 49.5% in nonsmokers, 42.7% in ex-smokers, and 10.8% in current smokers (P < 0.05 vs. nonsmokers). In current smokers, mean baseline Q̇aw was unchanged after fluticasone treatment, but endothelium-dependent Q̇aw reactivity significantly increased to 34.9%. Q̇aw reactivity was again blunted after fluticasone washout. Endothelial dysfunction, as assessed by vascular reactivity, can be corrected with an inhaled corticosteroid in the airway of lung-healthy current smokers. This proof of concept can serve as the basis for future clinical investigations on the effect of glucocorticoids on endothelial function in smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-57
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Airway blood flow
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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