Ascorbic acid and rates of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease

Gene L. Bowman, Hiroko Dodge, Balz Frei, Carlo Calabrese, Barry S. Oken, Jeffrey A. Kaye, Joseph F. Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The brain maintains high levels of ascorbic acid (AA) despite a concentration gradient favoring diffusion from brain to peripheral tissues. Dietary antioxidants, including AA, appear to modify the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that neurodegeneration in AD is modified by brain levels of AA. Thirty-two patients with mild to moderate AD participated in a biomarker study involving standardized clinical assessments over one year. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum were collected at baseline for AA and albumin content. Cognitive measures were collected at baseline and one year. CSF and plasma AA failed to predict cognitive decline independently, however, CSF: plasma AA ratio did. After adding CSF Albumin Index (an established marker of blood-brain barrier integrity) to the regression models the effect of CSF: plasma AA ratio as a predictor of cognitive decline was weakened. CSF: plasma AA ratio predicts rate of decline in AD. This relationship may indicate that the CSF: plasma AA ratio is an index of AA availability to the brain or may be an artifact of a relationship between blood-brain barrier impairment and neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Albumin
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Antioxidants
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cognitive decline
  • Vitamin C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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