Oxidative stress induced by ascorbate causes neuronal damage in an in vitro system

Jin H. Song, Seon H. Shin, Gregory M. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Of particular physiological interest, ascorbate, the ionized form of ascorbic acid, possesses strong reducing properties. However, it has been shown to induce oxidative stress and lead to apoptosis under certain experimental conditions. Ascorbate in the brain is released during hypoxia, including stroke, and is subsequently oxidized in plasma. The oxidized product (dehydroascorbate) is transported into neurons via a glucose transporter (GLUT) during a reperfusion period. The dehydroascorbate taken up by cells is reduced to ascorbate by both enzymatic and non-enzymatic processes, and the ascorbate is stored in cells. This reduction process causes an oxidative stress, due to coupling of redox reactions, which can induce cellular damage and trigger apoptosis. Ascorbate treatment decreased cellular glutathione (GSH) content, and increased the rates of lipid peroxide production in rat cortical slices. Wortmannin, a specific inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol (PI)-3-kinase (a key enzyme in GLUT translocation), prevented the ascorbate induced-decrease of GSH content, and suppressed ascorbate-induced lipid peroxide production. However, wortmannin was ineffective in reducing hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced oxidative stress. The oxidative stress caused ceramide accumulation, which was proportionally changed with lipid peroxides when the cortical slices were treated with ascorbate. These differential effects support the hypothesis that GLUT efficiently transports the dehydroascorbate into neurons, causing oxidative stress. Crown

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-72
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 23 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Ceramide
  • Dehydroascorbate
  • Oxidative stress
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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