Effect of Cigarette Smoking and Nicotine on Serum Free Fatty Acids
Based on a Study in the Human Subject and the Experimental Animal
The effect of cigarette smoking on serum free fatty acids (FFA) was studied in human subjects. After smoking two cigarettes there was an average maximal elevation in FFA of 351 µEq./L. This usually occurred 10 minutes after smoking and, in most instances, there was still some elevation 20 and 40 minutes after smoking. There was essentially no effect on serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In subjects who "chain-smoked" six cigarettes, all showed a rise in FFA during a 60-minute period, one showing a three-fold elevation. The effect of intravenous nicotine on serum FFA was studied in dogs. In 13 of 15 observations there was a rise in FFA. The mean maximal elevation of 166 µEq./L. occurred after 10 minutes of nicotine infusion. These effects are probably due to sympathetic and adrenal stimulation by nicotine. This results in a rise in circulating catecholamines which rapidly effect a mobilization of FFA from the fat stores in the body.
- Received January 18, 1961.
- © 1961 American Heart Association, Inc.