The changes in scorbutic wounds following the administration of ascorbic acid have been investigated using the techniques of electron microscopy, histochemistry, and autoradioggraphy. Particular attention has been paid to the changes seen in the endoplasmic reticulum of the fibroblasts and to the identity of the extracellular filamentous material characteristic of scorbutic wounds. Seven-day-old wounds in scorbutic guinea pigs were examined prior to and from one to 72 hours following the administration of vitamin C. Fibroblasts from wounds of normal animals demonstrate a characteristic configuration of the ribosomes of the endoplasmic reticulum which is suggested to be analogous to polyribosomes described in cells synthesizing protein such as the reticulocyte. Tangential views of the membranes of the ergastoplasm show the ribosomes to be grouped in paired rows which take both straight and curved paths. This configuration is lost in scurvy and can be seen to begin to reappear as early as 4 hours after giving ascorbic acid. With increasing time, the morphology of the ribosomal aggregates approximates that seen in normal cells, so that by 24 hours their reorientation is complete. It is suggested that one of the disturbances in scurvy may relate to an alteration either in messenger RNA, in the ability of the ribosomes to relate to the messenger, or in the membranes of the ergastoplasm. In addition, the lack of formation of hydroxyamino acids necessary for completing collagen synthesis may be related to the architecture of the ribosomal aggregates. Extracellular collagen fibrils appear concomitant with the restoration of ribosomal and ergastoplasmic morphology as early as 12 hours after administration of ascorbic acid, with complete disappearance of the scorbutic extracellular material within 24 hours. Observations of this scorbutic material do not support the concept that it is a collagen precursor.

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