Aims: There is evidence that plasma coenzyme Q(10) (CoQ(10)) levels decrease in patients with advanced chronic heart failure (CHF). However, it is not known whether oral CoQ(10) supplementation may improve cardiocirculatory efficiency and endothelial function in patients with CHF.
Methods and results: We studied 23 patients in NYHA class II and III (20 men, three women, mean age 59+/-9 years) with stable CHF secondary to ischaemic heart disease [ejection fraction 37+/-7%], using a double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over design. Patients were assigned to each of the following treatments: oral CoQ(10) (100 mg tid), CoQ(10) plus supervised exercise training (ET) (60% of peak VO(2), five times a week), placebo, and placebo plus ET. Each phase lasted 4 weeks. Both peak VO(2) and endothelium-dependent dilation of the brachial artery (EDDBA) improved significantly after CoQ(10) and after ET as compared with placebo. CoQ(10) main effect was: peak VO(2)+9%, EDDBA +38%, systolic wall thickening score index (SWTI) -12%; ET produced comparable effects. CoQ(10) supplementation resulted in a four-fold increase in plasma CoQ(10) level, whereas the combination with ET further increased it. No side effects were reported with CoQ(10).
Conclusions: Oral CoQ(10) improves functional capacity, endothelial function, and LV contractility in CHF without any side effects. The combination of CoQ(10) and ET resulted in higher plasma CoQ(10) levels and more pronounced effects on all the abovementioned parameters. However, significant synergistic effect of CoQ(10) with ET was observed only for peak SWTI suggesting that ET amplifies the already described effect of CoQ(10) on contractility of dysfunctional myocardium.