Neuroinflammation is believed to be one of the primary causes of cognitive impairment. Previous studies showed that the antioxidant vitamin C (Vit C) performs many beneficial functions such as immunostimulant and anti-inflammatory actions, but its role in inflammatory cognitive impairment is unclear. In the current study, we investigated the effect and possible mechanism of action of Vit C in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cognitive impairment. Intracerebroventricular LPS-induced memory impairment was used as the model for neuroinflammatory cognitive dysfunction. Vit C was administered by intracerebroventricular microinjection 30 min prior to LPS exposure. It was found that Vit C significantly protected animals from LPS-induced memory impairment as evidenced by improved performance in the Morris water maze and novel object recognition tests without changes in spontaneous locomotor activity. Vit C pretreatment inhibited the activation of microglia and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Furthermore, Vit C pretreatment markedly decreased the malondialdehyde (MDA) level, increased superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, and modulated the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and p-p38 MAPK activation in the hippocampus of LPS-treated mice. Together, these results suggest that vitamin C pretreatment could protect mice from LPS-induced cognitive impairment, possibly through the modulation of oxidative stress and inflammatory responses.


Zhang XY, Xu ZP, Wang W, Cao JB, Fu Q, Zhao WX, Li Y, Huo XL, Zhang LM, Li YF, Mi WD. Vitamin C alleviates LPS-induced cognitive impairment in mice by suppressing neuroinflammation and oxidative stress. Int Immunopharmacol. 2018 Dec;65:438-447. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2018.10.020. Epub 2018 Oct 30. PMID: 30388518.