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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Ascorbic acid in cerebrospinal fluid - a possible protection against free radicals in the brain.

The function of ascorbic acid in living organisms is complex. Previous studies emphasize its protective role against harmful effect of free radicals, and its presence is necessary for the function of numerous enzymes. Ascorbic acid is a powerful reducing agent due to its dienol molecular structure, which is not present in the oxidized form, dehydroascorbic acid. The ratio of ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbic acid might be a marker of oxidative-reductive processes. We measured and compared the level of ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbic acid in the plasma of healthy persons and those of senile dementia patients, who represent pathological aging of the brain. In senile dementia patients, ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbic acid levels were also measured in the cerebrospinal fluid. Concentrations were determined by high performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. In the plasma of senile dementia patients, very low ascorbic acid levels were found (ca. 30% of the healthy control). In lumbar cerebrospinal fluid, the concentration of ascorbic acid is 2.7 times higher compared to that of the plasma level. After intravenous infusion of ascorbic acid, a slow but marked increase of the concentration in the cerebrospinal fluid was measured. Our results support an active transport process for ascorbic acid through the blood-CSF barrier. Ascorbic acid level might be an important factor representing the protection of the central nervous system against free radicals.[1]


  1. Ascorbic acid in cerebrospinal fluid - a possible protection against free radicals in the brain. Barabás, J., Nagy, E., Degrell, I. Archives of gerontology and geriatrics. (1995) [Pubmed]
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