High dose vitamin C supplementation increases the Th1/Th2 cytokine secretion ratio, but decreases eosinophilic infiltration in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of ovalbumin-sensitized and challenged mice

J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Nov 11;57(21):10471-6. doi: 10.1021/jf902403p.


Vitamin C is traditionally regarded to be beneficial for asthma, however the benefit is still controversial. In the present study, high dose vitamin C was supplemented to ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized and challenged mice to evaluate the effects of dietary vitamin C on allergic asthma. In this study, the experimental mice were divided into four groups, including nonsensitized control, dietary control, positive control (cured ip with dexamethasone), and high dose vitamin C supplementation (130 mg of vitamin C/kg bw/day by gavage for 5 weeks). Differential leukocyte counts, levels of inflammatory mediators, as well as type 1 T-helper lymphocytes (Th1)-type and type 2 T-helper lymphocytes (Th2)-type cytokines in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were determined. The results showed that both high dose vitamin C supplementation and dexamethasone treatments significantly (P < 0.05) decreased eosinophilic infiltration into BALF. High dose vitamin C supplementation significantly increased the secretion ratio of interferon (IFN)-gamma/interleukin (IL)-5 cytokines. This study suggests that high dose vitamin C supplementation might attenuate allergic inflammation in vivo via modulating the Th1/Th2 balance toward the Th1 pole during the Th2-skewed allergic airway inflammation and decreasing eosinophilic infiltration into BALF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / immunology*
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology*
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemic Infiltration*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Random Allocation
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / drug effects
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / drug effects
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Ovalbumin
  • Ascorbic Acid