Prooxidant effects of ascorbate in rat brain slices

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Ascorbate is a well-known reducing agent, but it can generate oxidative potential under appropriate condition. In rat cerebral cortex homogenate, 1 mM ascorbate decreased thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) content to 86% ± 4% of control values, confirming that ascorbate is a reducing agent. However, ascorbate increased TBARS, in a dose-related manner, in slices prepared from cerebral cortex. Ferrous ion (Fe2+) had little effect on ascorbate-induced lipid oxidation in cortical slices, and EDTA did not have an influence on the ascorbate-induced oxidative action. Conversely, ascorbate plus Fe2+ elevated TBARS content to more than threefold over ascorbate alone in tissue homogenates. In summary, ascorbate is a reducing agent in the brain tissue homogenate but has an oxidizing effect in brain slices. A hypothesis is proposed to explain the oxidative effects of ascorbate in cortical slices, wherein extracellular ascorbate is oxidized to dehydroascorbate, which is rapidly carried into the cells via a glucose transporter (GLUT). The dehydroascorbate in cytosol is then reduced back to ascorbate, and, during the reduction process, cellular components are oxidized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-336
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 15 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Ferrous ion
  • FOX
  • Oxidative stress
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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