Ascorbate (Asc) has been shown to increase nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability and thereby improve endothelial function in patients showing signs of endothelial dysfunction. Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH₄) is a co-factor of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) which may easily become oxidized to the inactive form dihydrobiopterin (BH₂). Asc may increase NO bioavailability by a number of mechanisms involving BH₄ and eNOS. Asc increases BH₄ bioavailability by either reducing oxidized BH₄ or preventing BH₄ from becoming oxidized in the first place. Asc could also increase NO bioavailability in a BH₄-independent manner by increasing eNOS activity by changing its phosphorylation and S-nitrosylation status or by upregulating eNOS expression. In this review, we discuss the putative mechanisms by which Asc may increase NO bioavailability through its interactions with BH₄ and eNOS.
Keywords: Ascorbate; Dihydrobiopterin; Nitric oxide bioavailability; Tetrahydrobiopterin.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.