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Clin Chim Acta. 1993 Aug 31;217(2):163-73.

Ascorbate concentration in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum. Intrathecal accumulation and CSF flow rate.

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Neurochemisches Labor, University of Göttingen, Germany.


Concentrations of ascorbate (vitamin C) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from human controls (median 163 mumol/l, n = 63) were found to be in the same range as CSF samples from patients (n = 56) with various neurological diseases, but excluding those with blood-CSF barrier dysfunction. The CSF/serum concentration ratio in the former group is non-linear, decreasing with increasing serum concentration. Surprisingly, ascorbate concentration in blood (median 41 mumol/l, n = 119) was decreased significantly in cases of neurological diseases with a blood-CSF barrier dysfunction (median 26 mumol/l, n = 30). In this latter group a linear CSF to serum ratio with a mean of 5.7:1 (with CSF/serum albumin quotients QAlb = 7.8-70.8 x 10(-3), median 10.0 x 10(-3)) was observed, approaching a value > 12.5:1 in the case of complete stop of CSF flow. Serum ascorbate concentrations decreased with decreasing CSF flow rate (1 square root of QAlb), indicating a CSF flow-dependent constant contribution from high intrathecal ascorbate concentration to the varying diet-dependent concentrations in blood. In the control group the biological coefficient of variation for CSF ascorbate concentrations (C.V. = 21.1%) was smaller than for serum concentrations (C.V. = 42.6%), confirming an efficient ascorbate homeostasis in human brain. This was different from uric acid which was used as a reference molecule with an inversed gradient in the same group of control patients. Similar variations in CSF(y) and serum(x) for urate concentrations are observed due to the strong correlation y = 0.1x +/- 10 mumol/l, including 99% of the cases with an urate serum concentration range from 80 mumol/l to 460 mumol/l.

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