Effects of vitamin C on the hypobaric hypoxia-induced immune changes in male rats

Int J Biometeorol. 2014 Nov;58(9):1961-71. doi: 10.1007/s00484-014-0799-3. Epub 2014 Feb 23.


Hypobaric hypoxia (HH) induces oxidative stress (OS) and is associated with the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Vitamin C is an efficient antioxidant, and it is used in a high-altitude environment to reduce the OS. The present study explores the role of vitamin C on some HH-induced changes of immune parameters in rats which were exposed to HHc condition at 18,000 ft in a simulated chamber for 8 h/day for 6 days with and without vitamin C administration at three different doses (200, 400, and 600 mg/kg body wt). The phagocytic activity of circulating blood WBC was increased, and the cytotoxic activity of splenic mononuclear cell (MNC) and the delayed type of hypersensitivity (DTH) responses to bovine serum albumin (BSA) were decreased in rats exposed to HHc condition, but these immune changes were blocked after administration of vitamin C at 400 mg/kg body wt. The leukocyte adhesive inhibition index (LAI) was not altered either in HHc condition or after administration of vitamin C in HHc condition. The serum corticosterone (CORT) concentration was increased in rats exposed to HHc condition which was blocked after administration of vitamin C (400 mg/kg body wt). The immune parameters and serum CORT concentration, however, did not show any recovery after administration of vitamin C at the dose of 200 and 600 mg/kg body wt. The present study indicates that administration of vitamin C at a dose of 400 mg/kg body wt may prevent the HH-induced immunological changes but not at the lower dose (200 mg/kg body wt) or higher dose (600 mg/kg body wt) in rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Altitude Sickness / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / immunology*
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / immunology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Ascorbic Acid