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

The effect of ascorbic acid deficiency on leukocyte phagocytosis and killing of actinomyces viscosus.

The ascorbic acid content of guinea pig leukocytes is reduced by a factor of 16:1 between normal and scorbutic guinea pigs. Ascorbic acid deficiencies do not appear to affect phagocytic activity but do change leukocyte morphology. A deficiency of this vitamin appears to significantly interfere with the in vitro bactericidal effectiveness of circulating leukocytes against ingested, cell-associated, and extracellular bacterial cells of the oral pathogen, Actinomyces viscosus. Leukocytes from scorbutic guinea pigs killed 13% of ingested and cell-associated Actinomyces viscosus compared to 83% killed by normal leukocytes by both acridine orange staining and viable count. Degranulation resulted in extracellular killing in normal but not scorbutic leukocytes. This decreased bactericidal activity can be reversed by adding supplements of the vitamin to the diet of scorbutic animals. Chemotactic responses were much lower in vivo and absent in vitro in scorbutic leukocytes. The acridine orange staining technique is an excellent indicator of leukocyte health. This study supports the important role for ascorbic acid in leukocyte function and also discusses its probable protective and bactericidal activities related to oral pathogens.[1]


  1. The effect of ascorbic acid deficiency on leukocyte phagocytosis and killing of actinomyces viscosus. Goldschmidt, M.C., Masin, W.J., Brown, L.R., Wyde, P.R. International journal for vitamin and nutrition research. Internationale Zeitschrift für Vitamin- und Ernährungsforschung. Journal international de vitaminologie et de nutrition. (1988) [Pubmed]
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