The effects of ascorbic acid on the intracellular metabolism of iron and ferritin

K R Bridges, K E Hoffman
Journal of Biological Chemistry 1986 October 25, 261 (30): 14273-7
An important property of ascorbic acid is its ability to increase the availability of storage iron to chelators. To examine the mechanism of this effect, K562 cells were incubated with ascorbate, attaining an intracellular level of 1 nmol/10(7) cells. In contrast to the reductive mobilization of iron seen with isolated ferritin, ascorbate stabilized iron preincorporated into cellular ferritin. Biosynthetic labeling with [35S]methionine demonstrated that ascorbate also retarded the degradation of the ferritin protein shell. Ferritin is normally degraded in lysosomes. The lysosomal protease inhibitors leupeptin and chloroquine produced a qualitatively similar stabilization of ferritin. Ascorbate did not act as a general inhibitor of proteolysis, however, since it did not effect hemoglobin degradation in these cells. The stabilization of cellular ferritin by ascorbate was accompanied by an expansion of the pool of chelatable iron.

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