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.
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