Ascorbic acid uptake and metabolism by corneal endothelium

A. M. Bode, S. S. Vanderpool, E. C. Carlson, D. A. Meyer, R. C. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Ascorbic acid is concentrated in various ocular compartments where it is thought to protect diurnal animal species against damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation. The authors evaluated the possibility that corneal endothelial cells have specific transport and/or metabolic properties that deliver ascorbic acid to the stroma. Bovine corneal endothelial cells were grown to confluence in multiple-well plates. Individual groups of cells (~104) were then incubated at various times at 34°C in a physiologic buffer that contained a 10 μM level of 14C-labeled ascorbic acid or the oxidized product, dehydro-L-ascorbic acid. Endothelial cells take up dehydro-L-ascorbic acid at least seven times as rapidly as they take up ascorbic acid. After 30 sec of incubation with 14C-dehydro-L-ascorbic acid, most of the label accumulated in the cell is in the reduced form. Uptake is inhibited by cyanide and iodoacetamide but is unaffected by ouabain. Exposure of cultured cells to various intermediates in the energy metabolism pathways reduced uptake of ascorbic acid but had a minor effect on uptake of the oxidized molecule. These results suggest that the cornea has transport and metabolic capacity to extract dehydro-L-ascorbic acid from aqueous humor and reduce it, thus providing a source of ascorbic acid for corneal protection. This also would maintain 'total' ascorbic acid of aqueous humor in the reduced state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2266-2271
Number of pages6
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1991


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