Vitamin C deficiency in patients with sickle cell anemia

Daniel Chiu*, Elliott Vichinsky, Sheau Lin Ho, Tsan Liu, Bertram H. Lubin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

28 Scopus citations


Because peroxidative damage to red cell membranes may contribute to the pathophysiology of sickle cell disease, deficiency of fat- and water-soluble antioxidants could be a determinant in the pathogenesis of this disease. We have previously reported a deficiency of vitamin E in sickle cell disease. The present study was undertaken to see if a deficiency in vitamin C might also be detected. Leukocyte vitamin C, which reflects total body vitamin C reserve, was measured by a modified 2,4-dinitro-phenylhydrazine method. Sickle cell patients (N = 18) had lower leukocyte vitamin C levels (18.3 ± 9.4 µg/108 cells) than normal controls (N = 12; 30.3 ± 7.5 µg/108 cells; p < 0.01). Furthermore, 50% of the patients had vitamin C levels below 15 µg/108 cells, a value consistent with vitamin C deficiency. A statistically significant correlation (r = −0.62 with 0.01 < p ≤ 0.025) was found between leukocyte vitamin C levels and serum ferritin concentration. Because dietary vitamin C intake appeared to be adequate, increased vitamin C utilization may account for this deficiency. However, the mechanisms for this deficiency as well as its pathophysiologic consequences remain to be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-267
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Hemoglobinopathies
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Vitamin C


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