Biomolecules. 2021 Aug 3 ;11(8). Epub 2021 Aug 3. PMID: 34439814
Vitamin C Enhances Antiviral Functions of Lung Epithelial Cells.
Vitamin C is well documented to have antiviral functions; however, there is limited information about its effect on airway epithelial cells-the first cells to encounter infections. Here, we examined the effect of vitamin C on human bronchial epithelium transformed with Ad12-SV40 2B (BEAS-2B) cells, and observed that sodium-dependent vitamin C transporter 2 (SVCT2) was the primary vitamin C transporter. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that treating BEAS-2B cells with vitamin C led to a significant upregulation of several metabolic pathways and interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) along with a downregulation of pathways involved in lung injury and inflammation. Remarkably, vitamin C also enhanced the expression of the viral-sensing receptors retinoic acid-inducible gene 1 (RIG-1) and melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5 (MDA-5), which was confirmed at the protein and functional levels. In addition, the lungs of l-gulono-γ-lactone oxidase knockout (-KO) mice also displayed a marked decrease in these genes compared to wild-type controls. Collectively, our findings indicate that vitamin C acts at multiple levels to exert its antiviral and protective functions in the lungs.