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      Does Vitamin C Influence Neurodegenerative Diseases and Psychiatric Disorders?

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          Vitamin C (Vit C) is considered to be a vital antioxidant molecule in the brain. Intracellular Vit C helps maintain integrity and function of several processes in the central nervous system (CNS), including neuronal maturation and differentiation, myelin formation, synthesis of catecholamine, modulation of neurotransmission and antioxidant protection. The importance of Vit C for CNS function has been proven by the fact that targeted deletion of the sodium-vitamin C co-transporter in mice results in widespread cerebral hemorrhage and death on post-natal day one. Since neurological diseases are characterized by increased free radical generation and the highest concentrations of Vit C in the body are found in the brain and neuroendocrine tissues, it is suggested that Vit C may change the course of neurological diseases and display potential therapeutic roles. The aim of this review is to update the current state of knowledge of the role of vitamin C on neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic sclerosis, as well as psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. The particular attention is attributed to understanding of the mechanisms underlying possible therapeutic properties of ascorbic acid in the presented disorders.

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          Ascorbic acid: chemistry, biology and the treatment of cancer.

          Since the discovery of vitamin C, the number of its known biological functions is continually expanding. Both the names ascorbic acid and vitamin C reflect its antiscorbutic properties due to its role in the synthesis of collagen in connective tissues. Ascorbate acts as an electron-donor keeping iron in the ferrous state thereby maintaining the full activity of collagen hydroxylases; parallel reactions with a variety of dioxygenases affect the expression of a wide array of genes, for example via the HIF system, as well as via the epigenetic landscape of cells and tissues. In fact, all known physiological and biochemical functions of ascorbate are due to its action as an electron donor. The ability to donate one or two electrons makes AscH(-) an excellent reducing agent and antioxidant. Ascorbate readily undergoes pH-dependent autoxidation producing hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)). In the presence of catalytic metals this oxidation is accelerated. In this review, we show that the chemical and biochemical nature of ascorbate contribute to its antioxidant as well as its prooxidant properties. Recent pharmacokinetic data indicate that intravenous (i.v.) administration of ascorbate bypasses the tight control of the gut producing highly elevated plasma levels; ascorbate at very high levels can act as prodrug to deliver a significant flux of H(2)O(2) to tumors. This new knowledge has rekindled interest and spurred new research into the clinical potential of pharmacological ascorbate. Knowledge and understanding of the mechanisms of action of pharmacological ascorbate bring a rationale to its use to treat disease especially the use of i.v. delivery of pharmacological ascorbate as an adjuvant in the treatment of cancer. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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            Genetics of Alzheimer disease.

            Alzheimer disease (AD) is the most common causes of neurodegenerative disorder in the elderly individuals. Clinically, patients initially present with short-term memory loss, subsequently followed by executive dysfunction, confusion, agitation, and behavioral disturbances. Three causative genes have been associated with autosomal dominant familial AD (APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2) and 1 genetic risk factor (APOEε4 allele). Identification of these genes has led to a number of animal models that have been useful to study the pathogenesis underlying AD. In this article, we provide an overview of the clinical and genetic features of AD.
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              Ascorbate induces ten-eleven translocation (Tet) methylcytosine dioxygenase-mediated generation of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine.

              Tet methylcytosine dioxygenase converts 5-mC to 5-hmC in DNA. Ascorbate significantly and specifically enhances Tet-mediated generation of 5-hmC. Our findings suggest that ascorbate enhances 5-hmC generation, most likely by acting as a co-factor for Tet methylcytosine dioxygenase to generate 5-hmC. The availability of ascorbate could have significant consequences for health and diseases by modulating the epigenetic control of genome activity. Ascorbate (vitamin C) is best known for its role in scurvy, in which the hydroxylation of collagen catalyzed by dioxygenases is incomplete due to ascorbate deficiency. Here, we report a novel function of ascorbate in the hydroxylation of 5-methylcytosine (5-mC) to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) in DNA catalyzed by Tet (ten-eleven translocation) methylcytosine dioxygenase. The content of 5-hmC is extremely low in mouse embryonic fibroblasts cultured in ascorbate-free medium. Additions of ascorbate dose- and time-dependently enhance the generation of 5-hmC, without any effects on the expression of Tet genes. Treatment with another reducer glutathione (GSH) does not change the level of 5-hmC. Further, blocking ascorbate entry into cells by phloretin and knocking down Tet (Tet1, Tet2, and Tet3) expression by short interference RNAs (siRNA) significantly inhibit the effect of ascorbate on 5-hmC. These results suggest that ascorbate enhances 5-hmC generation, most likely by acting as a co-factor for Tet methylcytosine dioxygenase to hydroxylate 5-mC. Thus, we have uncovered a novel role for ascorbate in modulating the epigenetic control of genome activity.

                Author and article information

                27 June 2017
                July 2017
                : 9
                : 7
                Chair and Department of Medical Chemistry, Medical University of Lublin, 4A Chodźki Street, 20-093 Lublin, Poland; dorota.luchowska-kocot@ (D.L.-K.); malgorzata.kielczykowska@ (M.K.); irena.musik@ (I.M.); jacek.kurzepa@ (J.K.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: joanna.kocot@ ; Tel./Fax: +48-81448-6190
                © 2017 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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