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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1988 May 16;152(3):1490-6.

Decreased extracellular matrix production in scurvy involves a humoral factor other than ascorbate.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biochemistry, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Our recent studies suggested that decreased collagen synthesis in bone and cartilage of scorbutic guinea pigs was not related to ascorbate-dependent proline hydroxylation. The decrease paralleled scurvy-induced weight loss and reduced proteoglycan synthesis. Those results led us to propose that the effects of ascorbate deficiency on extracellular matrix synthesis were caused by changes in humoral factors similar to those that occur in fasting. Here we present evidence for this proposal. Exposure of chick embryo chondrocytes to scorbutic guinea pig serum, in the presence of ascorbate, led to effects on extracellular matrix synthesis similar to those seen in scorbutic animals. The rates of collagen and proteoglycan synthesis were reduced to approximately 30-50% of the levels in cells cultured in normal guinea pig serum plus ascorbate, but proline hydroxylation and procollagen secretion were unaffected. Similar results were obtained with serum from fasted guinea pigs supplemented in vivo with ascorbate. The growth rate of the chondrocytes was not significantly affected by scorbutic guinea pig serum.

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