Ascorbic acid (AA) is essential for collagen biosynthesis as a cofactor for prolyl and lysyl hydroxylase and as a stimulus for collagen gene expression. Many studies have evaluated the relationship between AA and collagen expression in short- and long-term effects on cells after a single administration of AA into the culture medium. However, no such study has monitored in detail the stability of AA in medium or the alterations of intracellular AA levels during a protracted interval. Therefore, we examined here intracellular AA levels and stability throughout its exposure to human skin fibroblasts in vitro. Moreover, we determined the effects on type 1 and type 4 collagen and sodium-dependent vitamin C transporter (SVCT) gene expression when medium containing 100 μM AA was replaced every 24h for 5 days to avoid depletion of AA. Throughout this long-term culture, intracellular AA levels remained constant; the expression of type 1 and type 4 collagens and SVCT2 mRNA was enhanced, and type 1 procollagen synthesis increased. Thus, these results indicate that human skin fibroblasts exposed to AA over time had rising levels of type 1/type 4 collagens and SVCT2 mRNA expression and type 1 procollagen synthesis.
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