Fibroblasts grown in medium containing less than 1 µg of ascorbic acid per milliliter showed evidence of ascorbic acid deficiency when compared with cells grown in medium containing 50 µg of ascorbic acid per milliliter. This was manifested morphologically by dilated endoplasmic reticulum, a decrease in number, size, and intensity of staining of the mitochondria, by defective intercellular fibril formation, and by easy disaggregation of the cells from the intercellular matrix after treatment with pronase. When 50 µg per milliliter of ascorbic acid was incorporated into the medium, the altered morphology was corrected, banded fibrils were produced which were organized into bundles, and the cells were tightly bound in a matrix which was resistant to disaggregation with a variety of proteolytic enzymes. Collagen and sulfated glycosaminoglycan synthesis were less in the control than in the ascorbic acid supplemented cells. Similar morphological and chemical changes have been reported in the connective tissue of scorbutic animals. The effects of low ascorbic acid concentration on fibroblasts in culture indicate that these cells require ascorbic acid to maintain connective tissue functions.

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