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      Ascorbic Acid Uptake and Regulation of Type I Collagen Synthesis in Cultured Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells

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          Background/Aims: Vascular smooth muscle cells contribute both to the structure and function of arteries, but are also involved in pathologic changes that accompany inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis. Since inflammation is associated with oxidant stress, we examined the uptake and cellular effects of the antioxidant vitamin ascorbic acid in cultured A10 vascular smooth muscle cells. Methods/Results: A10 cells concentrated ascorbate against a gradient in a sodium-dependent manner, most likely on the sodium-dependent vitamin C transporter type 2 (SVCT2) ascorbate transporter, which was present in immunoblots of cell extracts. Although ascorbate did not affect A10 cell proliferation, it stimulated radiolabeled proline incorporation and type I collagen synthesis. The latter was evident in the cells as increases in proα1(I) collagen and conversion of proα1(I) and proα2(I) collagen to mature forms that were released from the cells and deposited as extracellular matrix. Intracellular type I procollagen maturation was optimal at intracellular ascorbate concentrations of 200 μ M and below, which were readily achieved by culture of the cells at plasma physiologic ascorbate concentrations. Conclusion: These results show that the SVCT2 facilitates ascorbate uptake by vascular smooth muscle cells, which in turn increases both the synthesis and maturation of type I collagen.

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          Oxidative stress in cardiovascular disease: myth or fact?

          Oxidative stress is a mechanism with a central role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, cancer, and other chronic diseases. It also plays a major role in the aging process. Ischemic heart disease is perhaps the human condition in which the role of oxidative stress has been investigated in more detail: reactive oxygen species and consequent expression of oxidative damage have been demonstrated during post-ischemic reperfusion in humans and the protective role of antioxidants has been validated in several experimental studies addressing the pathophysiology of acute ischemia. Although an impressive bulk of experimental studies substantiate the role of oxidative stress in the progression of the damage induced by acute ischemia, not a single pathophysiologic achievement has had a significant impact on the treatment of patients and randomized, controlled clinical trials, both in primary and secondary prevention, have failed to prove the efficacy of antioxidants in the treatment of ischemic cardiovascular disease. This dichotomy, between the experimental data and the lack of impact in the clinical setting, needs to be deeply investigated: certainly, the pathophysiologic grounds of oxidative stress do maintain their validity but the concepts of the determinants of oxidative damage should be critically revised. In this regard, the role of intermediate metabolism during myocardial ischemia together with the cellular redox state might represent a promising interpretative key.
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            Protection and recycling of alpha-tocopherol in human erythrocytes by intracellular ascorbic acid.

            Ascorbic acid can recycle alpha-tocopherol from the tocopheroxyl free radical in lipid bilayers and in micelles, but such recycling has not been demonstrated to occur across cell membranes. In this work the ability of intracellular ascorbate to protect and to recycle alpha-tocopherol in intact human erythrocytes and erythrocyte ghosts was investigated. In erythrocytes that were 80% depleted of intracellular ascorbate by treatment with the nitroxide Tempol, both 2,2'-azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride (AAPH) and ferricyanide oxidized alpha-tocopherol to a greater extent than in cells not depleted of ascorbate. In contrast, in erythrocytes in which the intracellular ascorbate concentration had been increased by loading with dehydroascorbate, loss of alpha-tocopherol was less with both oxidants than in control cells. Protection against AAPH-induced oxidation of alpha-tocopherol was not prevented by extracellular ascorbate oxidase, indicating that the protection was due to intracellular and not to extracellular ascorbate. Incubation of erythrocytes with lecithin liposomes also generated an oxidant stress, which caused lipid peroxidation in the liposomes and depleted erythrocyte alpha-tocopherol, leading to hemolysis. Ascorbate loading of the erythrocytes delayed liposome oxidation and decreased loss of alpha-tocopherol from both cells and from alpha-tocopherol-loaded liposomes. When erythrocyte ghosts were resealed to contain ascorbate and challenged with free radicals generated by AAPH outside the ghosts, intravesicular ascorbate was totally depleted over 1 h of incubation, whereas alpha-tocopherol decreased only after ascorbate was substantially oxidized. These results suggest that ascorbate within the erythrocyte protects alpha-tocopherol in the cell membrane by a direct recycling mechanism.
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              Mechanism of the prolyl hydroxylase reaction. 1. Role of co-substrates.


                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                December 2008
                31 May 2008
                : 46
                : 1
                : 15-24
                Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn., USA
                135661 PMC3724476 J Vasc Res 2009;46:15–24
                © 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 9, References: 38, Pages: 10
                Research Paper


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