Developmental study of vitamin C distribution in children's brainstems by immunohistochemistry

Ann Anat. 2015 Sep;201:65-78. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2015.06.001. Epub 2015 Jul 6.


Vitamin C (Vit C) is an important antioxidant, exerts powerful neuroprotective brain effects and plays a role in neuronal development and maturation. Vit C is present in brain tissue at higher concentrations than in other organs, but its detailed distribution in brain is unknown. Immunohistochemical detection of this vitamin has been performed by using a highly specific antibody against Vit C. The aim of the present work was to analyze the distribution of Vit C in children's brainstems during postnatal development, comparing two groups of ages: younger and older than one year of life. In general, the same areas showing neurons with Vit C in young cases are also immunostained at older ages. The distribution of neurons containing Vit C was broader in the brainstems of older children, suggesting that brainstem neurons maintain or even increase their ability to retain Vit C along the life span. Immunohistochemical labeling revealed only cell bodies containing this vitamin, and no immunoreactive fibers were observed. The distribution pattern of Vit C in children's brainstems suggests a possible role of Vit C in brain homeostatic regulation. In addition, the constant presence of Vit C in neurons of locus coeruleus supports the important role of Vit C in noradrenaline synthesis, which seemed to be maintained along postnatal development.

Keywords: Brainstem; Children; Development; Mapping; Vitamin C.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism*
  • Brain Stem / growth & development*
  • Brain Stem / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Locus Coeruleus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Ascorbic Acid