Abstract Mildly oxidized low density lipoprotein (mLDL) acutely increases the permeability of the vascular endothelium to molecules that would not otherwise cross the barrier. This study has shown that ascorbic acid tightens the permeability barrier in the endothelial barrier in cells, so this work tested whether it might prevent the increase in endothelial permeability due to mLDL. Treatment of EA.hy926 endothelial cells with mLDL decreased intracellular GSH and activated the cells to further oxidize the mLDL. mLDL also increased endothelial permeability over 2 h to both inulin and ascorbate in cells cultured on semi-permeable filters. This effect was blocked by microtubule and microfilament inhibitors, but not by chelation of intracellular calcium. Intracellular ascorbate both prevented and reversed the mLDL-induced increase in endothelial permeability, an effect mimicked by other cell-penetrant antioxidants. These results suggest a role for endothelial cell ascorbate in ameliorating an important facet of endothelial dysfunction caused by mLDL.