Coenzyme Q10 enrichment decreases oxidative DNA damage in human lymphocytes

Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Nov;27(9-10):1027-32. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5849(99)00132-x.


Ubiquinol-10, the reduced form of coenzyme Q10, is a powerful antioxidant in plasma and lipoproteins. It has been suggested that endogenous ubiquinol-10 also exerts a protective role even towards DNA oxidation mediated by lipid peroxidation. Even though the antioxidant activity of coenzyme Q10 is mainly ascribed to ubiquinol-10, a role for ubiquinone-10 (the oxidized form), has been suggested not only if appropriate reducing systems are present. To investigate whether the concentration of ubiquinol-10 or ubiquinone-10 affects the extent of DNA damage induced by H2O2, we supplemented in vitro human lymphocytes with both forms of coenzyme Q10 and evaluated the DNA strand breaks by Comet assay. The exposure of lymphocytes to 100 microM H2O2 resulted in rapid decrease of cellular ubiquinol-10 content both in ubiquinol-10-enriched and in control cells, whereas alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene concentration were unchanged. After 30 min from H2O2 exposure, the amount of DNA strand breaks was lower and cells' viability was significantly higher in ubiquinol-10-enriched cells compared with control cells. A similar trend was observed in ubiquinone-10-enriched lymphocytes when compared with control cells. Our experiments suggest that coenzyme Q10 in vitro supplementation enhances DNA resistance towards H2O2-induced oxidation, but it doesn't inhibit directly DNA strand break formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Coenzymes
  • DNA Damage*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / toxicity
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Ubiquinone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ubiquinone / metabolism
  • Ubiquinone / pharmacology


  • Antioxidants
  • Coenzymes
  • Ubiquinone
  • ubiquinol-10
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • coenzyme Q10