Author(s): Kuo SM, Burl LR, Hu Z
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Vitamin C has been shown to delay the cellular senescence and was considered a candidate for chemoprevention and cancer therapy. To understand the reported contrasting roles of vitamin C: growth-promoting in the primary cells and growth-inhibiting in cancer cells, primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) and their isogenic spontaneously immortalized fibroblasts with unlimited cell division potential were used as the model pair. We used microarray gene expression profiling to show that the immortalized MEF possess human cancer gene expression fingerprints including a pattern of up-regulation of inflammatory response-related genes. Using the MEF model, we found that a physiological treatment level of vitamin C (10(-5) M), but not other unrelated antioxidants, enhanced cell growth. The growth-promoting effect was associated with a pattern of enhanced expression of cell cycle- and cell division-related genes in both primary and immortalized cells. In the immortalized MEF, physiological treatment levels of vitamin C also enhanced the expression of immortalization-associated genes including a down-regulation of genes in the extracellular matrix functional category. In contrast, confocal immunofluorescence imaging of the primary MEF suggested an increase in collagen IV protein upon vitamin C treatment. Similar to the cancer cells, the growth-inhibitory effect of the redox-active form of vitamin C was preferentially observed in immortalized MEF. All effects of vitamin C required its intracellular presence since the transporter-deficient SVCT2-/- MEF did not respond to vitamin C. SVCT2-/- MEF divided and became immortalized readily indicating little dependence on vitamin C for the cell division. Immortalized SVCT2-/- MEF required higher concentration of vitamin C for the growth inhibition compared to the immortalized wildtype MEF suggesting an intracellular vitamin C toxicity. The relevance of our observation in aging and human cancer prevention was discussed.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences