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On the Role of Vitamin C and Other Antioxidants in Atherogenesis and Vascular Dysfunction

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Abstract.

Oxidative stress has been implicated as an important etiologic factor in atherosclerosis and vascular dysfunction. Antioxidants may inhibit atherogenesis and improve vascular function by two different mechanisms. First, lipid-soluble antioxidants present in low-density lipoprotein (LDL), including α-tocopherol, and water-soluble antioxidants present in the extracellular fluid of the arterial wall, including ascorbic acid (vitamin C), inhibit LDL oxidation through an LDL-specific antioxidant action. Second, antioxidants present in the cells of the vascular wall decrease cellular production and release of reactive oxygen species (ROS), inhibit endothelial activation (i.e., expression of adhesion molecules and monocyte chemoattractants), and improve the biologic activity of endothelium-derived nitric oxide (EDNO) through a cell- or tissue-specific antioxidant action. α-Tocopherol and a number of thiol antioxidants have been shown to decrease adhesion molecule expression and monocyte-endothelial interactions. Vitamin C has been demonstrated to potentiate EDNO activity and normalize vascular function in patients with coronary artery disease and associated risk factors, including hypercholesterolemia, hyperhomocysteinemia, hypertension, diabetes, and smoking.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1999-12-01

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