Lymphocyte vitamin C levels as potential biomarker for progression of Parkinson's disease

Nutrition. 2015 Feb;31(2):406-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.08.001. Epub 2014 Aug 23.


Objectives: Vitamin C is a major antioxidant and also is known as a neuromodulator in dopaminergic neurons. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between lymphocyte and plasma vitamin C levels in various stages of Parkinson's disease (PD).

Methods: Sixty-two individuals with PD (age 71 ± 8.8 y [mean ± SD]) being treated at Shizuoka General Hospital from December 2007 to August 2013 were consecutively recruited. PD severity was classified using the Hoehn-Yahr scale for staging PD. Fasting blood samples were collected, and plasma and lymphocyte vitamin C levels were measured. The association between PD severity and vitamin C levels was estimated by ordinal logistic regression with confounding variables.

Results: The distribution of Hoehn-Yahr stages in patients was as follows: stage I, 7; II, 28; III, 16; and IV, 11. Lymphocyte vitamin C levels in patients with severe PD were significantly lower (odds ratio [OR], 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80-0.97; P < 0.01) compared with those at less severe stages. Plasma vitamin C levels also tended to be lower in patients with severe PD; however, this was not significant (OR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.96-1.00; P = 0.09).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that lymphocyte vitamin C levels in the peripheral blood may be a potentially useful biomarker for the progression of PD.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Clinical assessment; Oxidative stress; Parkinson's disease; Vitamin C.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lymphocytes / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Parkinson Disease / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Ascorbic Acid