Relationship between ascorbic acid and cell division

Exp Cell Res. 1984 Feb;150(2):314-20. doi: 10.1016/0014-4827(84)90574-3.


Proliferating cells require large amounts of ascorbic acid to reach cell division. The decrease in ascorbic acid caused by adding lycorine, an inhibitor of ascorbic acid biosynthesis, induces profound inhibition of cell division: the cell cycle is arrested in G1 and G2 phase, more than 90% of the cells being accumulated in G1 after some time. The effect of lycorine on mitotic index (MI) has been reversed by increasing experimentally the concentration of ascorbic acid in tissues. Ascorbic acid control on cell division is found to be specific, since isoascorbic acid is wholly ineffective. It is suggested that the principal role of ascorbic acid in the cell cycle may be related to its action in controlling the synthesis of hydroxyproline-containing proteins, which can be essential requirements for development of G1 and G2.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Amaryllidaceae Alkaloids*
  • Ascorbic Acid / biosynthesis
  • Ascorbic Acid / physiology*
  • Cell Division* / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Interphase / drug effects
  • Mitotic Index / drug effects
  • Phenanthridines / pharmacology*
  • Plant Cells*


  • Alkaloids
  • Amaryllidaceae Alkaloids
  • Phenanthridines
  • lycorine
  • Ascorbic Acid