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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2009 Oct;93(4):443-50. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2009.06.006. Epub 2009 Jun 17.

Vitamin C reduces spatial learning deficits in middle-aged and very old APP/PSEN1 transgenic and wild-type mice.

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Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232-0475, USA.


Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by a build up of amyloid beta (Abeta) deposits, elevated oxidative stress, and deterioration of the cholinergic system. The present study investigated short-term cognitive-enhancing effects of acute intraperitoneal (i.p.) Vitamin C (ascorbate) treatment in APP/PSEN1 mice, a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Middle-aged (12 months) and very old (24 months) APP/PSEN1 bigenic and wild-type mice were treated with ascorbate (125 mg/kg i.p.) or the vehicle 1 h before testing on Y-maze spontaneous alternation and Morris water maze tasks. Very old mice performed more poorly on cognitive tasks than middle-aged mice. Ascorbate treatment improved Y-maze alternation rates and swim accuracy in the water maze in both wild-type and APP/PSEN1 mice. Abeta deposits and oxidative stress both increased with age, and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity was significantly reduced in APP/PSEN1 compared to wild-type mice. However, the short course of acute ascorbate treatment did not alter Alzheimer-like neuropathological features of plaque deposition, oxidative stress, or AChE activity. These data suggest that ascorbate may have noötropic functions when administered parenterally in high doses and that the mode of action is via an acute, pharmacological-like mechanism that likely modulates neurotransmitter function.

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