Successful treatment of a patient with recurrent furunculosis by vitamin C: improvement of clinical course and of impaired neutrophil functions

Int J Dermatol. 1993 Nov;32(11):832-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4362.1993.tb02780.x.


Background: Neutrophils play a critical role in host defense against a variety of microbial pathogens. There is much information to suggest a role for vitamin C in the physiology of neutrophils. Thus, the effects of vitamin C treatment were studied in a patient with a history of recurrent furunculosis who showed altered neutrophil functions.

Methods: Superoxide generation was measured by cytochrome C reduction. Phagocytosis of opsonized zymosan by neutrophils and chemotaxis on agarose plates were determined.

Results: Chemotaxis, phagocytosis, and superoxide generation of the patient's neutrophils were significantly lower than those of the matched control. Treatment with vitamin C (500 mg/day) for 30 days caused a dramatic clinical response and a significant improvement of all three neutrophil functions to values similar to those of the controls.

Conclusions: We suggest that the patient described here had a temporary defect in neutrophil functions. The treatment with vitamin C probably prevented neutrophil oxidation, thus contributing to recovery of neutrophil function and arrest of furunculosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte / drug effects
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte / physiology
  • Female
  • Furunculosis / drug therapy*
  • Furunculosis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Neutrophils / drug effects*
  • Neutrophils / physiology*
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects
  • Phagocytosis / physiology
  • Recurrence
  • Superoxides / metabolism


  • Superoxides
  • Ascorbic Acid