Altered ascorbic acid status in the mucosa from inflammatory bowel disease patients


Buffinton GD, Doe WF




Free Radic Res


Attempts to establish the presence of oxidant stress and tissue damage in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have relied on determining the capacity of peripheral blood inflammatory cells to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other indirect indices. These approaches have failed to address whether or not there are adequate chemical antioxidant defences to prevent oxidative injury in the inflamed mucosa. In this investigation we have determined the mucosal concentrations of reduced and total ascorbic acid and the redox status in paired non-inflamed and inflamed mucosa using colonic biopsies from IBD patients. In inflamed mucosa from Crohn's disease (CD) patients, reduced and total ascorbic acid content decreased by 35% (p = 0.014 and p = 0.009, respectively). In ulcerative colitis (UC) patients, mucosal total ascorbic acid content decreased by 73% (p = 0.069) and reduced ascorbic acid by 41% (p = 0.014). The proportion of total ascorbic acid present in its reduced form in histologically normal mucosa from CD patients was unusually low at approximately 30%. In the paired-inflamed mucosa from CD patients, the redox ratio was also approximately 30% despite the loss of 35% of total ascorbate. In UC patients, the ascorbate redox ratio in the non-inflamed mucosa was 23% which increased to 51% in paired inflamed mucosa. This increase reflected the loss (73%) of total ascorbate. Reduction of dehydroascorbic acid by GSH/NADPH dependent dehydroascorbic acid reductase decreased significantly (p = 0.046) in inflamed mucosa from UC patients, suggesting that the capacity of the inflamed mucosa to maintain the concentration of reduced ascorbic acid is also diminished. HPLC analysis of mucosal preparations for diketogulonic acid, the decomposition product of dehydroascorbic acid, did not account for the loss of total ascorbate in the inflamed mucosa suggesting that ascorbate equivalents underwent further decomposition reactions or were excreted to the colonic lumen. We conclude that the normal luminal environment is strongly oxidising in character and that oxidant stress derived from inflammatory cells contributes to the loss of 35-73% total and reduced ascorbate. In absolute terms, the overall loss of this antioxidant buffering capacity would decrease the capacity of the inflamed mucosa to prevent oxidative tissue damage and hinder recovery of the inflamed mucosa.