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Immunol Lett. 2009 Feb 21;122(2):219-26. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2009.01.007. Epub 2009 Feb 6.

Promotion of IL-4- and IL-5-dependent differentiation of anti-mu-primed B cells by ascorbic acid 2-glucoside.

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Department of Immunochemistry, Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama, Japan.


The stable ascorbic acid derivative 2-O-alpha-D-glucopyranosyl-L-ascorbic acid (AA-2G) was used to investigate the role of ascorbic acid (AA) in B cell differentiation in vitro. AA-2G is stable in a solution unlike AA but is hydrolyzed by cellular alpha-glucosidase to release AA. Mouse spleen B cells were primed for 2 days with an anti-mu antibody in the presence of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-5 and then washed and recultured with AA-2G in the presence of IL-4 and IL-5. AA-2G, but not AA, dose-dependently increased IgM production, the greatest enhancement being 150% at concentrations of more than 0.5mM. In the absence of IL-4 and IL-5, primed B cells produced a negligible amount of IgM, and AA-2G had no effect. AA-2G-induced IgM production in the presence of IL-4 and IL-5 was inhibited by the alpha-glucosidase inhibitor castanospermine. Intracellular AA content, depleted during the priming period, increased by adding AA-2G at the start of reculture. Treatment of B cells with AA-2G resulted in an increase in the number of IgM-secreting cells, CD138-positive cells and CD45R/B220-negative cells. The number of viable cells in untreated cultures decreased gradually, but the decrease was significantly attenuated by AA-2G, resulting in about 70% more viable cells in AA-2G-treated cultures. AA-2G caused a slight but reproducible enhancement of DNA synthesis and a slight decrease in the number of cells with a sub-G1 DNA content. These results demonstrated that AA released from AA-2G enhanced cytokine-dependent IgM production in anti-mu-primed B cells and suggest that its effect is caused through promoting the differentiation of B cells to plasma cells and attenuating the gradual decrease in the number of viable cells.

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