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Mol Med Rep. 2012 Jun;5(6):1449-52. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2012.857. Epub 2012 Apr 2.

Effect of ascorbic acid and hydrogen peroxide on mouse neuroblastoma cells.

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Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN 37208, USA.


Ascorbic acid is one of the antioxidant compounds widely used against free radical stress. The present study was undertaken to examine whether ascorbic acid and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), alone or in combination, could influence cell viability. The murine neuroblastoma cell line, N2a, was used to perform a dose response curve for ascorbic acid. It was observed that ascorbic acid alone at physiological concentrations (0.1-0.4 mM) did not cause any cell death. However, at pharmacological concentrations (1-6 mM), ascorbic acid caused dose-dependent cell death. The lethal concentration at which 50% cells were killed (LC50) was determined to be approximately 3.141 mM ascorbic acid at 24 h. H2O2 up to 300 µM alone did not cause significant cell death. In the combined treatment, when the cells were treated with ascorbic acid at physiological concentrations (0.4 mM) and H2O2 at 400 µM, higher rates of cell death were observed compared to the cell death rates caused by either compound alone. Subsequent experiments revealed that cell death was partly mediated through the loss of total glutathione levels in the cells. These data suggest that the combination of ascorbic acid and H2O2 is disadvantageous for cancer cell survival. Further studies are required to ascertain the physiological significance of these observations.

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