Vitamin C modulates glutamate transport and NMDA receptor function in the retina

  • Ivan Domith, Renato Socodato, Camila C. Portugal, Andressa F. Munis, Aline T. Duarte-Silva, Roberto Paes-de-Carvalho
  • Journal of Neurochemistry, December 2017, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1111/jnc.14260

Vitamin C decreases glutamate uptake and activates glutamate receptors in the nervous system

What is it about?

Vitamin C is an important antioxidant but it also works as a neuromodulator and is abundant in the central nervous system. Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and the NMDA type of glutamate receptors is very important in several functions in the mature tissue such as learning and memory, as well as during development, such as synapse formation and neuritogenesis. In this article, we report one potentiallly important function of vitamin C: Regulation of glutamate extracellular concentrations with a probable impact on the important functions exerted by this neurotransmitter.

Why is it important?

We found that vitamin C regulates the uptake and extracellular concentration of glutamate in the retina, promoting the activation of NMDA and AMPA glutamate receptors and calcium-dependent signaling pathways wich are important for neuronal functions such as neuritogenesis and synapse formation. The results suggest an important function of vitamin C in the central nervous system.


Roberto Paes-de-Carvalho
Universidade Federal Fluminense

I think that these important findings open intriguing questions on the role of vitamin C in synapse communication in the nervous system and on what could be the effects of modifications in the rate of Vitamin C uptake and release during development as well as in the mature nervous system.

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The following have contributed to this page: Renato Socodato and Roberto Paes-de-Carvalho