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Keywords:

  • OSTEOPOROSIS;
  • BONE FRACTURE;
  • OSTEOBLASTS;
  • EPIGENETICS;
  • PROLYL HYDROXYLASE DOMAIN-CONTAINING PROTEIN 2;
  • ENDOCHONDRAL BONE FORMATION;
  • HYPOXIA-INDUCIBLE FACTORS

ABSTRACT

Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and cofactor that is involved in the regulation of development, function, and maintenance of several cell types in the body. Deficiencies in vitamin C can lead to conditions such as scurvy, which, among other ailments, causes gingivia, bone pain, and impaired wound healing. This review examines the functional importance of vitamin C as it relates to the development and maintenance of bone tissues. Analysis of several epidemiological studies and genetic mouse models regarding the effect of vitamin C shows a positive effect on bone health. Overall, vitamin C exerts a positive effect on trabecular bone formation by influencing expression of bone matrix genes in osteoblasts. Recent studies on the molecular pathway for vitamin C actions that include direct effects of vitamin C on transcriptional regulation of target genes by influencing the activity of transcription factors and by epigenetic modification of key genes involved in skeletal development and maintenance are discussed. With an understanding of mechanisms involved in the uptake and metabolism of vitamin C and knowledge of precise molecular pathways for vitamin C actions in bone cells, it is possible that novel therapeutic strategies can be developed or existing therapies can be modified for the treatment of osteoporotic fractures. © 2015 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.