Incubation of human leukocytes with dehydroascorbate (DHA) results in an increase in their reduced ascorbate (AA) content and hexose monophosphate shunt (HMS) activity, independent of oxygen supply. Incubation with AA induces these changes only in the presence of oxygen. The increase in HMS activity observed as cell AA increases by 1 µmol is the same during incubation with either DHA or AA.

We propose that human leukocytes take up ascorbate as DHA (AA after oxidation to DHA) and reduce it promptly to AA, and that HMS stimulation upon incubation with either AA or DHA is a result of DHA reduction.

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