Reduced mononuclear leukocyte ascorbic acid content in adults with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus consuming adequate dietary vitamin C.


Cunningham JJ, Ellis SL, McVeigh KL, Levine RE, Calles-Escandon J






Several recent studies suggest that vitamin C (ascorbic acid [AA]) status may be altered in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). We measured the AA content of mononuclear leukocytes (MN-AA) as an indicator of tissue vitamin C status in adults with IDDM and nondiabetic adults matched for age and sex. Dietary vitamin C intake and plasma AA were analyzed to ensure that vitamin C availability was adequate. Dietary vitamin C intakes were above recommendations and were not different between the groups. MN-AA was reduced by 33% on average (P less than .05) in adults with IDDM (1.75 microgram/mg total protein [TP]) when compared with nondiabetics (2.60 micrograms/mg TP). When MN-AA is indexed to the dietary vitamin C intake (MN-AA/100 mg diet C), the storage deficit in adults with IDDM averages 50% (P less than .05). This observation suggests an impaired tissue AA storage in adults with IDDM and supports the theory that intracellular scurvy contributes to the chronic degenerative complications of the disease.