Smoking increases systemic inflammation and circulating endothelin-1 (ET-1), both of which contribute to an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The present study sought to test the hypothesis that a 12-week smoking cessation intervention would contribute to a long-term reduction in circulating ET-1, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and interleukin-6 (IL-6). 30 individuals participated in a 12-week evidence-based smoking cessation program at Augusta University. Serum cotinine, plasma inflammatory cytokines, and plasma ET-1 were determined at baseline, immediately after the 12-week cessation program (end of treatment, EOT), and 12-months (12M) following the cessation program. Serum cotinine was significantly reduced (p < 0.001) at EOT and 12M following the smoking cessation program. Compared to BL (7.0 ± 1.6 pg/mL), TNF-α was significantly reduced at EOT (6.3 ± 1.5 pg/mL, p = 0.001) and 12M (5.2 ± 2.7 pg/mL, p < 0.001). ET-1 was significantly lower at EOT (1.9 ± 0.6 pg/mL, p = 0.013) and at 12M (2.0 ± 0.8 pg/mL, p = 0.091) following smoking cessation compared with BL (2.3 ± 0.6 pg/mL). BL concentrations of cotinine were significantly associated with basal ET-1 (r = 0.449, p = 0.013) and the change in cotinine at 12M following smoking cessation was significantly associated with the change in plasma ET-1 at 12M (r = 0.457, p = 0.011). Findings from the present pilot investigation demonstrate that a 12-week smoking cessation program reduces circulating concentrations of ET-1 and TNF-α for at least a year. The reduction in serum cotinine was associated with the decrease in circulating ET-1. The attenuation in ET-1 and inflammation may in part, contribute to the lower risk of CVD that is observed with smoking cessation.
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