Ascorbate effect on cytokine stimulation of HIV production

Nutrition. 1995 Sep-Oct;11(5 Suppl):684-7.


We have recently shown that ascorbic acid (AA) suppresses the production of HIV in a latently infected T-lymphocytic cell line (ACH-2) following stimulation with the tumor promoter, PMA. To evaluate the effect of ascorbic acid on virus activation following treatment with inflammatory cytokine, we tested tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) whose levels are elevated in patients with HIV/AIDS. ACH-2 cultures, pretreated with various nontoxic concentrations of ascorbate or AZT were stimulated for 2 h with TNF-alpha, and incubated further with fresh supplements of ascorbate or AZT. At 24 to 48 h post-treatment, the RT activity released into culture supernatant was determined. Results showed that TNF-alpha alone caused approximately 13- to 16-fold stimulation in the level of extracellular RT. Pretreatment with ascorbic acid at 200 micrograms/ml caused a little more than about 2- to 4-fold reduction in extracellular RT levels. Most remarkably, exposure to 300 micrograms/ml ascorbate resulted in approximately 5- to 10-fold lowering of the extra-cellular RT titer. In contrast, no significant suppression in extracellular RT levels was seen with concentrations of AZT in the range of 1-5 micrograms/ml.

MeSH terms

  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • HIV / drug effects*
  • HIV / physiology*
  • Humans
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / virology
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology*
  • Zidovudine / pharmacology


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Zidovudine
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate
  • Ascorbic Acid