Intravenous Treatment With Coenzyme Q10 Improves Neurological Outcome and Reduces Infarct Volume After Transient Focal Brain Ischemia in Rats

J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2016 Feb;67(2):103-9. doi: 10.1097/FJC.0000000000000320.


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) crosses the blood-brain barrier when administered intravenously and accumulates in the brain. In this study, we investigated whether CoQ10 protects against ischemia-reperfusion injury by measuring neurological function and brain infarct volumes in a rat model of transient focal cerebral ischemia. In male Wistar rats, we performed transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) for 60 minutes, followed by reperfusion for 24 hours or 7 days. Forty-five minutes after the onset of occlusion (or 15 minutes before reperfusion), rats received a single intravenous injection of solubilized CoQ10 (30 mg·mL(-1)·kg(-1)) or saline (2 mL/kg). Sensory and motor function scores and body weights were obtained before the rats were killed by decapitation, and brain infarct volumes were calculated using tetrazolium chloride staining. CoQ10 brain levels were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. CoQ10 significantly improved neurological behavior and reduced weight loss up to 7 days after tMCAO (P < 0.05). Furthermore, CoQ10 reduced cerebral infarct volumes by 67% at 24 hours after tMCAO and 35% at 7 days (P < 0.05). Cerebral ischemia resulted in a significant reduction in endogenous CoQ10 in both hemispheres (P < 0.05). However, intravenous injection of solubilized CoQ10 resulted in its increase in both hemispheres at 24 hours and in the contralateral hemisphere at 7 days (P < 0.05). Our results demonstrate that CoQ10 is a robust neuroprotective agent against ischemia-reperfusion brain injury in rats, improving both functional and morphological indices of brain damage.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Ischemia / drug therapy
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology
  • Cerebral Infarction / drug therapy*
  • Cerebral Infarction / pathology*
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ubiquinone / administration & dosage
  • Ubiquinone / analogs & derivatives*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Ubiquinone
  • coenzyme Q10