Mechanisms of inhibitory effects of CoQ10 on UVB-induced wrinkle formation in vitro and in vivo

Biofactors. 2008;32(1-4):237-43. doi: 10.1002/biof.5520320128.


Photodamaged skin exhibits wrinkles, pigmented spots, dryness and tumors. Solar UV radiation induces cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) and further produces base oxidation by reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are thought to be a major factor to initiate the up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in keratinocytes and fibroblasts via activation of receptor proteins on the cell membrane of keratinocytes and fibroblasts, and to degrade fiber components in dermis, leading to wrinkle formation. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) was reported to reduce ROS production and DNA damage triggered by UVA irradiation in human keratinocytes in vitro. Further, CoQ10 was shown to reduce UVA-induced MMPs in cultured human dermal fibroblasts. We speculated that UVB radiation-induced cytokine production in keratinocytes may be inhibited by CoQ10, resulting in the reduction of MMPs in fibroblasts leading to wrinkle reduction. Our in vitro studies showed that UVB-induced IL-6 production of normal human keratinocyte (NHKC) decreased in the presence of CoQ10. Furthermore, MMP-1 production of fibroblasts cultured with the medium containing CoQ10 collected from UVB-irradiated NHKC significantly decreased during 24 h culture. In the clinical trial study, we found that the use of 1% CoQ10 cream for five months reduced wrinkle score grade observed by a dermatologist. Taken together, our results indicate that CoQ10 may inhibit the production of IL-6 which stimulate fibroblasts in dermis by paracrine manner to up-regulate MMPs production, and contribute to protecting dermal fiber components from degradation, leading to rejuvenation of wrinkled skin.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1alpha / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects
  • Keratinocytes / radiation effects
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 / biosynthesis
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / radiation effects
  • Ubiquinone / administration & dosage
  • Ubiquinone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ubiquinone / therapeutic use
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Antioxidants
  • Interleukin-1alpha
  • Interleukin-6
  • Ubiquinone
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1
  • coenzyme Q10