Amino Acids

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 347–355 | Cite as

SVCT1 and SVCT2: key proteins for vitamin C uptake

  • I. Savini
  • A. Rossi
  • C. Pierro
  • L. Avigliano
  • M. V. Catani
Review Article


Vitamin C is accumulated in mammalian cells by two types of proteins: sodium-ascorbate co-transporters (SVCTs) and hexose transporters (GLUTs); in particular, SVCTs actively import ascorbate, the reduced form of this vitamin.

SVCTs are surface glycoproteins encoded by two different genes, very similar in structure. They show distinct tissue distribution and functional characteristics, which indicate different physiological roles. SVCT1 is involved in whole-body homeostasis of vitamin C, while SVCT2 protects metabolically active cells against oxidative stress. Regulation at mRNA or protein level may serve for preferential accumulation of ascorbic acid at sites where it is needed.

This review will summarize the present knowledge on structure, function and regulation of the SVCT transporters. Understanding the physiological role of SVCT1 and SVCT2 may lead to develop new therapeutic strategies to control intracellular vitamin C content or to promote tissue-specific delivery of vitamin C-drug conjugates.

Keywords: Ascorbic acid transport – Self-regulation – Vitamin C deficiency – Pharmacological applications 



Activator protein-1


activator protein-2


early growth response 1


fork-head activin signal transducer 1


hexose transporters


hypoxia-inducible factor


nuclear factor Y


mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 3


sodium-vitamin C transporters




upstream stimulatory factor




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Savini
    • 1
  • A. Rossi
    • 1
  • C. Pierro
    • 1
  • L. Avigliano
    • 1
  • M. V. Catani
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical SciencesUniversity of Rome Tor VergataRomeItaly

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