Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vitamin C Shown To Cross The Blood Brain Barrier

Date:
December 6, 1997
Source:
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Summary:
Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have discovered how to get large amounts of vitamin C past the blood brain barrier so that it is transported and retained in the brains of laboratory mice. This finding may prove useful in efforts to slow the progression of certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's.

Findings May Be Useful To Slow Progression of Some Brain Disorders

Related Articles


New York, November 30, 1997 -- The blood brain barrier has long been regarded as the body's most formidable gatekeeper. It is a virtual fortress of blood vessels that forms a protective barrier between the blood and brain, screening any chemical that attempts to access the brain's inner sanctum. But the blood brain barrier's protective role can be a drawback, as it also blocks access to substances that would be good for the brain. One such substance is vitamin C, an antioxidant that is essential to keep the central nervous system functioning properly.

Now, researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have discovered how to get large amounts of vitamin C past the blood brain barrier so that it is transported and retained in the brains of laboratory mice. This finding may prove useful in efforts to slow the progression of certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's. The investigators report their findings in the December 1st issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"We now know how to get large amounts of an antioxidant into the brain," said Dr. David Agus, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and lead author of the study.

The researchers studied vitamin C absorption in the brain to determine why it was present in this organ's tissue at higher concentrations than any other area of the body. Earlier research by Dr. David Golde, Physician-in-Chief of Memorial Hospital, and his colleagues had established that specific glucose transporter molecules were responsible for transporting vitamin C into cells. This process occurs when vitamin C, which is used by cells in the form of ascorbic acid, is converted into the form of dehydroascorbic acid and transported into the cell. Once inside, the vitamin is converted back to ascorbic acid.

Building on this research, Drs. Agus, Golde and their colleagues reasoned that vitamin C would cross the blood brain barrier as dehydroascorbic acid via the same glucose transport mechanism and be retained as ascorbic acid in the brain. To find out, mice were injected with either ascorbic acid, dehydroascorbic acid, or sucrose (as a measure of blood volume) and their brains were subsequently analyzed at varying time intervals for vitamin C content. The researchers found that ascorbic acid was not able to cross the blood brain barrier, while dehydroascorbic acid readily entered the brain and was retained in the tissue as ascorbic acid.

Although scientists do not know the exact role that vitamin C plays in the brain, recent studies have shown that various vitamin compounds with antioxidant-like properties can slow the progression of moderately severe Alzheimer's disease. In addition, vitamin C is also known to act as a scavenger of free radicals - substances that play a role in causing diseases.

"Our findings from this study have therapeutic implications because we can potentially increase vitamin C concentrations in the brain by increasing the blood level of dehydroascorbic acid," said Dr. Golde. He added that this was not possible by taking vitamin C as an oral supplement because most of it would be excreted in the urine.

Now, the researchers are conducting on-going laboratory experiments in mice to test the clinical effectiveness of large amounts of dehydroascorbic acid. They hope to increase the antioxidant potential in the brain.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the world's oldest and largest private institution devoted to prevention, patient care, research, and education in cancer. Throughout its long, distinguished history, the Center has played a leadership role in defining the standard of care for patients with cancer. In 1997, Memorial Sloan-Kettering was named the nation's best cancer center for the fifth consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. "Vitamin C Shown To Cross The Blood Brain Barrier." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/12/971206133607.htm>.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. (1997, December 6). Vitamin C Shown To Cross The Blood Brain Barrier. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/12/971206133607.htm
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. "Vitamin C Shown To Cross The Blood Brain Barrier." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/12/971206133607.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins