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Ascorbic Acid to Manage Psychiatric Disorders

Abstract

Ascorbate has critical roles in the central nervous system (CNS); it is a neuromodulator of glutamatergic, cholinergic, dopaminergic, and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic neurotransmission, provides support and structure to neurons, and participates in processes such as differentiation, maturation, and survival of neurons. Over the past decade, antioxidant properties of ascorbate have been extensively characterized and now it is known that this compound is highly concentrated in the brain and neuroendocrine tissues. All this information raised the hypothesis that ascorbate may be involved in neurological disorders. Indeed, the biological mechanisms of ascorbate in health and disease and its involvement in homeostasis of the CNS have been the subject of extensive research. In particular, evidence for an association of this vitamin with schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder has been provided. Considering that conventional pharmacotherapy for the treatment of these neuropathologies has important limitations, this review aims to explore basic and human studies that implicate ascorbic acid as a potential therapeutic strategy. Possible mechanisms involved in the beneficial effects of ascorbic acid for the management of psychiatric disorders are also discussed.

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Correspondence to Morgana Moretti.

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Dr. Rodrigues is a “National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq)” Research Fellow. Dr. Rodrigues’ studies are supported by Grants from CNPq (Grant Numbers #308723/2013-9 and #449436/2014-4), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Ensino Superior (CAPES), and NENASC Project (PRONEX-FAPESC/CNPq) #1262/2012-9.

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Morgana Moretti, Daiane Bittencourt Fraga, and Ana Lúcia S. Rodrigues declare that no financial support or compensation has been received from any individual or corporate entity over the past 3 years for research or professional service and there are no personal financial holdings that could be perceived as constituting a potential conflict of interest.

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Moretti, M., Fraga, D.B. & Rodrigues, A.L.S. Ascorbic Acid to Manage Psychiatric Disorders. CNS Drugs 31, 571–583 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40263-017-0446-8

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