Background: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is essential for mitochondrial energy production and serves as an antioxidants in extra mitochondrial membranes. The genetics of primary CoQ10 deficiency has been described in several studies, whereas the influence of common genetic variants on CoQ10 status is largely unknown. Here we tested for non-synonymous single-nucleotidepolymorphisms (SNP) in genes involved in the biosynthesis (CoQ3G272S , CoQ6M406V, CoQ7M103T), reduction (NQO1P187S, NQO2L47F) and metabolism (apoE3/4) of CoQ10 and their association with CoQ10 status. For this purpose, CoQ10 serum levels of 54 healthy male volunteers were determined before (T0) and after a 14 days supplementation (T14) with 150 mg/d of the reduced form of CoQ10.
Findings: At T0, the CoQ10 level of heterozygous NQO1P187S carriers were significantly lower than homozygous S/S carriers (0.93 ± 0.25 μM versus 1.34 ± 0.42 μM, p = 0.044). For this polymorphism a structure homology-based method (PolyPhen) revealed a possibly damaging effect on NQO1 protein activity. Furthermore, CoQ10 plasma levels were significantly increased in apoE4/E4 genotype after supplementation in comparison to apoE2/E3 genotype (5.93 ± 0.151 μM versus 4.38 ± 0.792 μM, p = 0.034). Likewise heterozygous CoQ3G272S carriers had higher CoQ10 plasma levels at T14 compared to G/G carriers but this difference did not reach significance (5.30 ± 0.96 μM versus 4.42 ± 1.67 μM, p = 0.082).
Conclusions: In conclusion, our pilot study provides evidence that NQO1P187S and apoE polymorphisms influence CoQ10 status in humans.