Effects of ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate on cyclic nucleotide metabolism in human lymphocytes

J. P. Atkinson, A. Weiss, M. Ito, J. Kelly, C. W. Parker

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10 Scopus citations


L-ascorbic acid (LAA) augmented cGMP many-fold in highly purified human peripheral blood lymphocytes. The cGMP response occurred within 10 sec and persisted for at least 60 min. D-ascorbic acid (DAA) and dehydroascorbic acid (DHAA) were also equally active in enhancing cGMP concentrations but metabolic precursors of ascorbic acid and other inorganic acids did not increase cGMP levels. Determination of the amount of DHAA contaminating the LAA precluded the possibility that it was solely responsible for the enhanced cGMP levels. The sodium or calcium salts of ascorbic acid did not increase cGMP concentrations. If these neutralized preparations were acidified, increased cGMP concentrations were then noted. In broken cell preparations, LAA, DAA, and DHAA and to a lesser extent sodium ascorbate (NaA) enhanced guanylate cyclase activity while neither inhibited cAMP or cGMP phosphodiesterase (PDE) activity. The possible role of H 2O 2, fatty acid liberation, prostaglandin production, oxidizing-reducing agents, and free radical formation in mediating the effects of ascorbic acid on cGMP levels were evaluated, but none of these potential mechanisms were definitively proven to be a required intermediary for the cGMP enhancing activity of ascorbic acid. LAA<DHAA or NaA did not induce lymphocyte transformation or modulate lectin-induced mitogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-123
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cyclic Nucleotide Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1979


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