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Nutr Rev. 2005 Mar;63(3):81-90.

Biological role of vitamin C in keratinocytes.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.


Epidemiological studies have suggested an association between vitamin C (and other antioxidant vitamins) and cancer risk. However, the mechanisms accounting for prevention have not been extensively investigated. In skin, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) exerts different biological roles, including photoprotective effects and participation in collagen synthesis. This paper reports new findings about additional functions of the vitamin. Vitamin C counteracts oxidative stress via transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms; this modulation may interfere with the activity of redox-sensitive transcription factors, commitment to differentiation or cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis in response to DNA damage. All of these vitamin C-mediated responses might be important in different cell types, allowing for the maintenance of body homeostasis.

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