Levels of serum ascorbate and its metabolites in hemodialysis patients

Hiroko Hirano, Yoshinori Tone, Haruhisa Otani, Masaki Oya, Keigo Kimura, Yasushi Saika, Ryoichi Fujii, Masatoshi Mune, Masakazu Ichinose, Susumu Yukawa

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7 Citations (Scopus)


The status of ascorbic acid (AA) in dialysis patients is the subject of debate. Some reports have found AA to be deficient in dialysis patients, while others have found that AA is not deficient. In an attempt to confirm AA serum concentrations in dialysis patients, we analyzed the concentrations of AA as well as its metabolites using the specific determination of AA with chemical derivatization and the HPLC method. We studied 131 patients under maintenance hemodialysis therapy (HD), 23 patients with chronic renal failure (CRF) and 48 healthy controls (C). Serum concentrations of AA and the AA metabolites dehydroascorbic acid (DHA) and 2, 3-diketogulonate (DKG) were measured by HPLC. Nine HD patients were taking AA supplements. Seventy-six (62.3%) of the 122 HD patients not taking AA supplements exhibited deficient levels of AA (<20 μM), while 13(56.5%) of the 23 CRF patients and 9(18.8%) of the 48 C showed deficient levels of AA. Analysis of AA metabolites in the normal-range AA (20-80 μM) group revealed that the DHA/AA ratio in HD patients was significantly higher than in C (3.3 ± 2.6% and 1.2 ± 2.2%, respectively). The DKG/AA ratio in HD patients was higher than in CRF patients (3.6 ± 5.2% vs. 0.9 ± 1.9%), whereas DKG was not detected in C. When compared to serum levels before the start of dialysis, serum AA, DHA and DKG concentrations at the end of the dialysis session decreased by an average of 74.2, 84.0 and 78.8% respectively. In HD patients, serum levels of thiobarbituric reactive substances (TBARS) were significantly lower in the higher AA (>80 μM) group than in the deficient and normal-range AA groups. In 12 AA-deficient patients, after 1 month of taking AA supplements (200 mg/day), serum AA levels rose to 79.9 μM, while serum TBARS level declined when compared with levels before supplementation. In conclusion, the frequency of AA deficiency in dialysis patients is extremely high. AA deficiency in HD patients may result in high TBARS levels, which reflect increased oxidative stress. Adequate AA supplementation should therefore be considered in such patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-433
Number of pages8
JournalJapanese Journal of Nephrology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Sep 29
Externally publishedYes


  • 2, 3-diketogulonate
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Dehydroascorbic acid
  • Hemodialysis
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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