Alzheimer’s patients are five to 10 times more likely to suffer unprovoked seizures compared to healthy individuals.
Alzheimer’s patients often also have reduced levels of ascorbate, or vitamin C.
In a new study from Vanderbilt University, researchers found that vitamin C could help protect the brain from seizures.
Ascorbate is an important antioxidant in the brain, particularly in the synapse, where it protects against oxidative stress.
Ascorbate is released into the synapse as glutamate is cleared from the synapse, an exchange important for excitatory neurotransmission.
In the study, Fiona Harrison, Ph.D., and colleagues, investigated the role of ascorbate in susceptibility to seizures.
The team used genetically-modified mice that, like humans, depend on dietary ascorbate.
They found that low ascorbate renders mice more susceptible to pharmacologically-induced seizures and alters the expression of several glutamate transporter genes.
Even a single, mild seizure impacted memory in a mouse model for Alzheimer’s disease.
The study supports the importance of brain ascorbate levels in protecting against seizures and cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease.
The finding is published in Neurobiology of Aging.
Written by Nora Foegeding.
Source: Vanderbilt University.