Coenzyme Q10

Author: Gianpiero Pescarmona
Date: 29/07/2008


Coenzyme Q10 (also known as ubiquinone, coenzyme Q, CoQ10) is a 1,4-benzoquinone, where Q refers to the quinone chemical group, and 10 refers to the number of isoprenyl subunits.

Human Metabolome DatabaseCoQ
Linus PaulingCoQ

It is present in most eukaryotic cells, primarily in the mitochondria as a component of the electron transport chain. As ninety-five percent of the human body’s energy is generated this way, the cellular level of CoQ plays a critical role in cell function. Therefore, those organs with the highest energy requirements—such as the heart and the liver—have the highest CoQ10 concentrations
Coenzyme Q10 is also a powerful endogenous antioxidant.

Coenzyme Q10: A Review of Essential Functions

CoEnzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone, Ubiquinol and Semiquinone) by Ben Best

Metabolism and function of coenzyme Q, 2004




Coenzyme Q (Q) functions in the mitochondrial respiratory chain and serves as a lipophilic antioxidant. There is increasing interest in the use of Q as a nutritional supplement. Although the physiological significance of Q is extensively investigated in eukaryotes, ranging from yeast to human, the eukaryotic Q biosynthesis pathway is best characterized in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. At least ten genes (COQ1-COQ10) have been shown to be required for Q biosynthesis and function in respiration. Recent knowledge about the endogenous synthesis of Q in eukaryotes, with emphasis on S. cerevisiae as a model system

Clinical role CoQ level

CoQ deficiency may be responsible for many symptoms:

  • a low level of ubiquinone in the plasma of patients with a chronic heart failure has been considered a predictor factor of increased mortality [Molyneux et al, 2008].

Distribution of antioxidants among blood components and lipoproteins: significance of lipids/CoQ10 ratio as a possible marker of increased risk for atherosclerosis. 1999

Positive, significant correlations were found between the LDL-chol/CoQ10 ratio and the total-chol/HDL-chol ratio, which is usually considered a risk factor for atherosclerosis.

Coenzyme Q10 in essential hypertension. 1994

This study was undertaken to clarify the mechanism of the antihypertensive effect of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Twenty-six patients with essential arterial hypertension were treated with oral CoQ10, 50 mg twice daily for 10 weeks. Plasma CoQ10, serum total and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and blood pressure were determined in all patients before and at the end of the 10-week period. At the end of the treatment, systolic blood pressure (SBP) decreased from 164.5 +/- 3.1 to 146.7 +/- 4.1 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) decreased from 98.1 +/- 1.7 to 86.1 +/- 1.3 mmHg (P < 0.001). Plasma CoQ10 values increased from 0.64 +/- 0.1 microgram/ml to 1.61 +/- 0.3 micrograms/ml (P < 0.02). Serum total cholesterol decreased from 222.9 +/- 13 mg/dl to 213.3 +/- 12 mg/dl (P < 0.005) and serum HDL cholesterol increased from 41.1 +/- 1.5 mg/dl to 43.1 +/- 1.5 mg/dl (P < 0.01). In a first group of 10 patients serum sodium and potassium, plasma clinostatic and orthostatic renin activity, urinary aldosterone, 24-hour sodium and potassium were determined before and at the end of the 10-week period. In five of these patients peripheral resistances were evaluated with radionuclide angiocardiography. Total peripheral resistances were 2,283 +/- 88 before treatment and 1,627 +/- 158 after treatment (P < 0.02). Plasma renin activity, serum and urinary sodium and potassium, and urinary aldosterone did not change. In a second group of 11 patients, plasma endothelin, electrocardiogram, two-dimensional echocardiogram and 24-hour automatic blood pressure monitoring were determined.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Elevation of tissue coenzyme Q (ubiquinone) and cytochrome c concentrations by endurance exercise in the rat. 1984 fulltext

Six months of enforced and voluntary endurance training of young female Wistar rats resulted in significant decreases of body weight and gastrocnemius muscle wet weight and protein content, and increases in heart weight and protein content, and liver protein content. The coenzyme Q and cytochrome c concentrations of cardiac, gastrocnemius, and deep red region of the vastus lateralis muscles were increased, while small or nonsignificant trends toward increases in cytochrome c and coenzyme Q were seen in kidney, brain, lung, liver, internal + external oblique muscles, and the superficial white region of the vastus lateralis muscle. These results are discussed with regard to several roles for coenzyme Q in cellular function.

serum coenzyme Q transport

Clinical implications of the correlation between coenzyme Q10 and vitamin B6 status. 1999 Fulltext

  • Abstract
    The endogenous biosynthesis of the quinone nucleus of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) from tyrosine is dependent on adequate vitamin B6 nutriture. Lowered blood and tissue levels of CoQ10 have been observed in a number of clinical conditions. Many of these clinical conditions are most prevalent among the elderly. Kalen et al. have shown that blood levels of CoQ10 decline with age. Similarly, Kant et al. have shown that indicators of vitamin B6 status also decline with age. Blood samples were collected from 29 patients who were not currently being supplemented with either CoQ10 or vitamin B6. Mean CoQ10 concentrations was 1.1 +/- 0.3 micrograms/ml of blood. Mean specific activities of EGOT was 0.30 +/- 0.13 mumol pyruvate/hr/10(8) erythrocytes and the mean percent saturation of EGOT with PLP was 78.2 +/- 13.9%. Means for all parameters were within normal ranges. Strong positive correlation was found between CoQ10 and the specific activity of EGOT (r = 0.5787, p < 0.001) and between CoQ10 and the percent saturation of EGOT with PLP (r = 0.4174, p < 0.024). Studies are currently in progress to determine the effect of supplementation with vitamin B6 of blood CoQ10 levels. It appears prudent to recommend that patients receiving supplemental CoQ10 be concurrently supplemented with vitamin B6 to provide for better endogenous synthesis of CoQ10 along with the exogenous CoQ10.

2008-07-29T16:53:21 - Gianpiero Pescarmona

The targeted anti‐oxidant MitoQ causes mitochondrial swelling and depolarization in kidney tissue, 2018

However, recent studies in non kidney cells have suggested that MitoQ might also have adverse effects. Here, using a live imaging approach, and both in vitro and ex vivo models, we show that MitoQ induces rapid swelling and depolarization of mitochondria in PT cells, but these effects were not observed with SS‐31, another targeted anti‐oxidant.

Chin J Physiol. 2007 Oct 31;50(5):217-24.Links
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Erratum in:
Chin J Physiol. 2007 Dec 31;50(6):330.

Effects of coenzyme Q10 on the heart ultrastructure and nitric oxide synthase during hyperthyroidism.
Oztay F, Ergin B, Ustunova S, Balci H, Kapucu A, Caner M, Demirci C.

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Istanbul University, Vezneciler.

Coenzyme Q10 is an important component of mitochondrial electron transport chain and antioxidant. Hyperthyroidism manifests hyperdynamic circulation with increased cardiac output, increased heart rate and decreased peripheral resistance. The heart is also under the oxidative stress in the hyperthyroidism. The aim of this study was to examine both how the coenzyme Q10 can affect heart ultrastructure in the hyperthyroidism and how the relationship between nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and heart damage and coenzyme Q10. Swiss Black C57 mice received 5 mg/kg L-thyroxine. Coenzyme Q10 (1.5 mg/kg) and L-thyroxine together was given to second group mice. Coenzyme Q10 and serum physiologic were applied to another two groups, respectively. All treatments were performed daily for 15 days by gavage. Free triiodothyronine and thyroxine were increased in two groups given L-thyroxine; thyroid-stimulating hormone level did not change. Hyperthyroid heart showed an increased endothelial NOS (eNOS) and inducible NOS (iNOS) immunoreactivity in the tissue. Coenzyme Q10 administration decreased these NOS immunoreactivities in the hyperthyroid animals. Cardiomyocytes of the hyperthyroid animals was characterized by abnormal shape and invaginated nuclei, and degenerative giant mitochondria. Desmosome plaques reduced in density. In hyperthyroid mice given coenzyme Q10, the structural disorganization and mitochondrial damage regressed. However, hearts of healthy mice given coenzyme Q10 displayed normal ultrastructure, except for increased mitochondria and some of them were partially damaged. Coenzyme Q10 increased the glycogen in the cardiomyocytes. In conclusion, coenzyme Q10 administration can prevent the ultrastructural disorganization and decrease the iNOS and eNOS increment in the hyperthyroid heart.

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