In this study, the effect of ascorbic acid 2-glucoside (AA-2G), a stable derivative of ascorbic acid (AsA), or repeated additions of ascorbate on antibody productions by human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) was examined, and the physiological function of AsA was evaluated. When human PBLs were stimulated with Staphylococcus aureus Cowan I or pokeweed mitogen, AA-2G remarkably increased the numbers of IgM- and IgG-secreting cells which were detected by enzyme-linked immunospot assay. Although a single addition of ascorbate was without effect, the effect of AA-2G was remarkably inhibited by the addition of castanospermine, an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor; and moreover, repeated additions of AsA to the culture medium during the culture period enhanced the response to the same level as did a single addition of AA-2G. These results indicate that AsA has the ability to stimulate the immunoglobulin productions by AA-2G. The phytohemagglutinin-induced proliferative response of PBLs was also stimulated by AA-2G. The intracellular AsA content in PBLs cultured with AA-2G was maintained at relatively high levels during the culture period, whereas the content with a single dose of AsA reached nearly zero by the end of the experiment. These in vitro findings suggest that AA-2G and AsA function as potent immunostimulators of antibody production in humans and that the intracellular AsA content is a key parameter for establishing the immune response of PBLs.