Vitamin C and its physiological role with respect to the components of the immune system

Authors: D. Holmannová ;  M. Koláčková ;  J. Krejsek
Authors‘ workplace: Ústav klinické imunologie a alergologie Lékařské fakulty UK a FN Hradec Králové, přednosta prof. RNDr. Jan Krejsek, CSc.
Published in: Vnitř Lék 2012; 58(10): 743-749
Category: Reviews


Vitamin C is a water soluble micronutrient commonly found in our diet which orchestrates the function of both innate and adaptive immune system, influencing both cellular and humoral immune responses. Vitamin C inhibits excessive activation of the immune system to prevent tissue damage, but also supports antibacterial activity, stimulates NK cells and differentiation of Th0 subset into Th1 characterized by interferon γ production. In addition, vitamin C interferes with the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines, or with the expression of adhesive molecules. Moreover, vitamin C as an antioxidat protects the immune cells against intracellular ROS (reactive oxygen species) formed in the inflammatory response. Vitamin C as an enzymatic cofactor is extremely important in maintaining tissue integrity, and plays a crucial role in formation of skin, epithelial and endothelial barriers.

Key words:
vitamin C – immune system – ROS (reactive oxygen species) – RNS (reactive nitrogen species)


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