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Vitamin C prevents hyperoxia-mediated coronary vasoconstriction and impairment of myocardial function in healthy subjects

Supplementary oxygen is commonly administered in current medical practice. Recently it has been suggested that hyperoxia causes acute oxidative stress and produces prompt and substantial changes in coronary resistance in patients with ischemic heart disease. In this report, we examined whether the effects of hyperoxia on coronary blood velocity (CBV) would be associated with a reduction in myocardial function. We were also interested in determining if the postulated changes in left ventricular (LV) function seen with tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) could be reversed with intravenous vitamin C, a potent, acute anti-oxidant. LV function was determined in eight healthy subjects with transthoracic echocardiography and TDI before and after hyperoxia and with and without infusing vitamin C. Hyperoxia compared with room air promptly reduced CBV by 28 ± 3% (from 23.50 ± 2.31 cm/s down to 17.00 ± 1.79 cm/s) and increased relative coronary resistance by 34 ± 5% (from 5.63 ± 0.88 up to 7.32 ± 0.94). Meanwhile, LV myocardial systolic velocity decreased by 11 ± 6% (TDI). These effects on flow and function were eliminated by the infusion of vitamin C, suggesting that these changes are mediated by vitamin C-quenchable substances acting on the coronary microcirculation.