TitleVitamin C matters: increased oxidative stress in cultured human aortic endothelial cells without supplemental ascorbic acid.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsSmith AR, Visioli F, Hagen TM
JournalFASEB J
Date Published2002 Jul
KeywordsAorta, Ascorbic Acid, Cell Culture Techniques, Cells, Cultured, Endothelium, Vascular, Glutathione, Humans, Models, Biological, NADP, Nitric Oxide, Nitric Oxide Synthase, Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III, Oxidation-Reduction, Oxidative Stress

Because standard culture media for human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC) do not contain vitamin C, we hypothesized that HAEC may be under significant oxidative insult compared with the situation in vivo. To assess parameters of oxidative stress, intracellular vitamin C, glutathione (GSH), GSH/GSSG, and NAD(P)H/NAD(P)+ ratios, as well as oxidant appearance and oxidative damage, were measured in HAEC with or without vitamin C addition. The effect of vitamin C on eNOS activity was also determined. Results showed that HAEC without vitamin C treatment were essentially scorbutic. On addition of 100 mM vitamin C to the culture media, intracellular vitamin C levels increased and peaked at 6 h. A concomitant increase in the total GSH and the GSH/GSSG ratio was also observed; the NAD(P)H/NAD(P)+ ratio increased more slowly over the 24-h time course. Significantly lower (P <0.05) oxidant appearance and steady-state oxidative damage were also observed following vitamin C repletion. Vitamin C treatment increased eNOS activity by 600%. Thus, HAEC are scorbutic under normal culture conditions and exhibit higher oxidative stress than vitamin C repleted cells. Vitamin C supplementation should be considered when using cultured cells, especially when experimental endpoints are related to cellular redox status and eNOS activity.

Alternate JournalFASEB J.
PubMed ID12039848