Ascorbic acid reduces the frequency of iron induced micronuclei in bone marrow cells of mice

Kumpati Premkumar, Christopher Bowlus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Iron is a potent oxidant that can lead to the formation of genotoxic lipid peroxides. Ascorbic acid, which enhances dietary iron absorption, has been suggested to enhance the oxidant effects of iron and to directly lead to the formation of lipid peroxides. The combined effects of dietary iron and ascorbic acid on genotoxicity were investigated by measuring the frequency of micronuclei in the bone marrow cells of C3H/He mice. In addition, liver iron concentration was measured in all treated groups. Three weeks old mice were fed diets for 3 weeks containing iron at 100 or 300mg/kg diet in the form of FeSO4 that were supplemented either with or without ascorbic acid (15g/kg diet). The results of the bone marrow micronucleus test revealed that the high iron diet resulted in an increased frequency of micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes (MnPCEs) as compared to low iron. Ascorbic acid supplementation in the low iron diet did not show any effect on incidence of MnPCEs and protected against the increased frequency of MnPCEs induced by the high iron diet. However, liver iron concentration was significantly increased only in the high iron treated and ascorbic acid supplemented group as compared to all other groups. These results demonstrate that ascorbic acid protects against the clastogenic effects of iron.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-103
Number of pages5
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 9 2003


  • Ascorbic acid
  • Clastogenicity
  • Iron
  • Micronucleus test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Genetics


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