Vitamin C in the Prevention and Treatment of Frostbite

  • S. S. Purkayastha Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences, Delhi
  • T. Lazar Mathew Directorate of Agriculture & Biomedical Sciences, New Delhi
Keywords: Tissue loss, Tissue damage


Two series of experiments were conducted on rats to evaluate the effect of Vit C for prevention and treatment of frostbite. For studies on prevention, 45 rats were divided into 3 groups, as control, Vit C-short term and Vit C-long term. Frostbite was produced experimentally in both the hind limbs by exposing the animals at -15 degree centigrade for 1 h and the assessment of cold injury was done after 15 days. In another study on prevention, frostbite was produced on 20 rats twice, in each limb separately with and without Vit C therapy. The result showed that administration of Vit C for a short period prior to cold exposure period maintained higher rectal temperature and significantly reduced the incidence of frostbite. For studies on treatment, frostbite was produced experimentally in 4 groups of rats. Group I was treated as control, group II was administered 5 mg of Vit C/100 g bw (orally) daily for 15 days. rapid rewarming at 37 degree centigrade on the exposed limbs of group III animals was carried out immediately after cold exposure. Combination of rapid rewarming followed by C therapy was given to group IV. The degree of injury of various groups were compared statistically. Prolonged Vit C therapy as well as waterbath rewarming at body temperature immediately after cold exposure showed significant reduction in tissue damage. High dose of Vit C therapy preceded by rapid rewarming showed additional benefit in reducing the tissue loss.

Author Biographies

S. S. Purkayastha, Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences, Delhi
Mr· SS Purkayastha is a Scientist and Group Officer of Cold Physiological Unit, Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences . He has over 27 years of research experience in cold and high altitude physiology. He is a member of Indian Science Congress Association and joint recipient of Surgeon Rear Adm iral MS Malhotra Research Award four times and the SIRI Rese arch Award for studies on frostb ite . He has 87 research publications ' to his credit..Mr Purkayastha has conducted field research studies in Antarctica,Arctic Region of USSR, and Siachen Glacier.
T. Lazar Mathew, Directorate of Agriculture & Biomedical Sciences, New Delhi
Dr Lazar Mathew , a graduate in Veterinary Science, received PhD in Medical Physiology . He is Joint Director in the Dte of Agriculture Biomedical and Applied Sciences, and Programme Director, High Altitute Medical Research Centre at DRDO HQrs. He has 27 years of experience in various fields of physiology and has completed around 25 approved research projects including 12 as Project Leader .
He has over 100 publications including 66 papers and reports to his credit. Recipient of the SIRI Research Award, Surgeon Rear Admiral
MS Malhotra and the University Gold Medals, Dr Mathew is a member of various societies and scientific committees including Indian
Science Congress, Indian Association of Biomedical Scientists, Indian Association of Aerospace Medicine, etc and is a Fellow of Association
of Biomedical Scientists, and also International Medical Sciences Academy, His fields of specialisation are environmental physiology,
cardiorespiratory fitness and sports physiology . Dr Mathew is an Examiner for PhD. referee for UGC and DST, and is on the Editorial
Board of three reputed journals.
How to Cite
Purkayastha, S., & Mathew, T. (2013). Vitamin C in the Prevention and Treatment of Frostbite. Defence Science Journal, 42(1), 39-46.
Biomedical Sciences