Cigarette smoking has a negative effect on respiratory and skeletal muscle function and is a risk factor for various chronic diseases. To assess the effects of 14 days of smoking cessation on respiratory and skeletal muscle function, markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in humans. Spirometry, skeletal muscle function, circulating carboxyhaemoglobin levels, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), markers of oxidative stress and serum cytokines were measured in 38 non-smokers, and in 48 cigarette smokers at baseline and after 14 days of smoking cessation. Peak expiratory flow (p = 0.004) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s/forced vital capacity (p = 0.037) were lower in smokers compared to non-smokers but did not change significantly after smoking cessation. Smoking cessation increased skeletal muscle fatigue resistance (p < 0.001). Haemoglobin content, haematocrit, carboxyhaemoglobin, total AGEs, malondialdehyde, TNF-α, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6 and IL-10 (p < 0.05) levels were higher, and total antioxidant status (TAS), IL-12p70 and eosinophil numbers were lower (p < 0.05) in smokers. IL-4, IL-6, IL-10 and IL-12p70 had returned towards levels seen in non-smokers after 14 days smoking cessation (p < 0.05), and IL-2 and TNF-α showed a similar pattern but had not yet fully returned to levels seen in non-smokers. Haemoglobin, haematocrit, eosinophil count, AGEs, MDA and TAS did not significantly change with smoking cessation. Two weeks of smoking cessation was accompanied with an improved muscle fatigue resistance and a reduction in low-grade systemic inflammation in smokers.
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