Enhanced Human Neutrophil Vitamin C Status, Chemotaxis and Oxidant Generation Following Dietary Supplementation with Vitamin C-Rich SunGold Kiwifruit.
Nutrients. 2015 ;7(4):2574-88. Epub 2015 Apr 9. PMID: 25912037
Stephanie M Bozonet
Neutrophils are the body's primary defenders against invading pathogens. These cells migrate to loci of infection where they engulf micro-organisms and subject them to an array of reactive oxygen species and antimicrobial proteins to effect killing. Spent neutrophils subsequently undergo apoptosis and are cleared by macrophages, thereby resolving the inflammatory episode. Neutrophils contain high concentrations of vitamin C (ascorbate) and this is thought to be essential for their function. This may be one mechanism whereby vitamin C enhances immune function. The aim of our study was to assess the effect of dietary supplementation with vitamin C-rich SunGold kiwifruit on four important functions of neutrophils: chemotaxis, oxidant generation, extracellular trap formation, and apoptosis. Fourteen young men (aged 18-30 years) with suboptimal plasma vitamin C status (<50μmol/L) were supplemented for four weeks with two SunGold kiwifruit/day. Plasma vitamin C status was monitored weekly and neutrophil vitamin C levels were assessed at baseline and post-intervention. Neutrophil function assays were carried out on cells isolated at baseline and post-intervention. Plasma vitamin C levels increased to>70μmol/L (p<0.001) within one week of supplementation and there was a significant increase in neutrophil vitamin C status following four weeks' intervention (p = 0.016). We observed a significant 20% increase in neutrophil chemotaxis post-intervention (p = 0.041) and also a comparable increase in oxidant generation (p = 0.031). Supplementation did not affect neutrophil extracellular trap formation or spontaneous apoptosis. Our data indicate that supplementation with vitamin C-rich kiwifruit is associated with improvement of important neutrophil functions, which would be expected to translate into enhanced immunity.