Ascorbic acid is a potent inhibitor of various forms of T cell apoptosis

Cell Immunol. 1999 May 25;194(1):1-5. doi: 10.1006/cimm.1999.1485.


This study was designed to examine the effect of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) on various death pathways of mouse T cells. Unlike humans, mice produce their own ascorbic acid and our study tested the effect of additional ascorbic acid on murine T cells. Our data show that three T cell death pathways (growth factor withdrawal-, spontaneous-, and steroid-induced death) were inhibited when T cells were incubated with ascorbic acid. The data show that both activated and resting T cells were responsive to ascorbic acid since both populations were resistant to death stimuli when treated with ascorbic acid. Additionally, effector T cells were more likely to enter S phase if treated with ascorbic acid. Our data implicate ascorbic acid as a potent inhibitor of various forms of T cell death and suggest that vitamin C may function as an immune booster through this mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media
  • Dexamethasone
  • Female
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Titrimetry


  • Culture Media
  • Dexamethasone
  • Ascorbic Acid