The effect of ascorbate and ubiquinone supplementation on plasma and CSF total antioxidant capacity

Free Radic Biol Med. 1996;21(2):211-7. doi: 10.1016/0891-5849(95)02207-4.


Free radicals are thought to be involved in the onset of neuronal disturbances such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. It is also assumed that they play a role in cerebral injury caused by ischemia or trauma. Plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), Total (peroxyl) Radical-trapping Antioxidant Parameter (TRAP), and the known antioxidant components of TRAP, for instance, ascorbic acid, uric acid, protein sulfhydryl groups, tocopherol, and ubiquinol were analyzed and the remaining unidentified fragment was calculated in five healthy volunteers before and after 4 weeks of ascorbate and ubiquinone (Q-10) supplementation. In CSF, TRAP was significantly lower than in plasma. The major contributor to plasma's antioxidant capacity was uric acid (UA), whereas in CSF it was ascorbic acid (AA). In CSF, AA concentrations were four times higher than in plasma. Oral supplementation of AA (500 mg/d first 2 weeks, 1,000 mg/d following 2 weeks) and Q-10 (100 mg/d first 2 weeks, 300 mg/d following 2 weeks) induced a significant increase in plasma AA and Q-10. Surprisingly, in spite of the high lipophilicity of Q-10, its concentration did not change in CSF. The supplementation of AA increased its concentration in CSF by 28% (p < .05). However, the increase in AA did not result in an increase in CSF TRAP. This indicates that AA had lost one-third of its radical trapping capacity as compared to that in plasma. The facts that AA is the highest contributor to CSF TRAP and its effect on TRAP is concentration dependent could indicate that the peroxyl radical-trapping capacity of CSF is buffered by AA.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Ascorbic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Free Radicals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / blood
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Ubiquinone / analogs & derivatives
  • Ubiquinone / blood
  • Ubiquinone / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Ubiquinone / pharmacology*
  • Uric Acid / blood
  • Uric Acid / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Vitamin E / blood
  • Vitamin E / cerebrospinal fluid


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radicals
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • Ubiquinone
  • Vitamin E
  • Uric Acid
  • ubiquinol
  • Ascorbic Acid