Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is synthesized in almost all human tissues and presumably involved in age-related alterations and diseases. Here, we examined the impact of aging and sex on the serum CoQ10 status in 860 European adults ranging in age from 18 to 82 years. We identified an inverse U-shaped relationship between CoQ10 concentration and age. Women showed lower cholesterol-adjusted CoQ10 levels than men, irrespective of age. As observed in both sexes, the decrease in CoQ10 concentration in older subjects was accompanied by a shift in the redox status in favour of the oxidized form. A strong positive correlation was found for total CoQ10 and cholesterol concentrations (Spearman's, p≤1E-74). We found strong negative correlations between total (Spearman's, p≤1E-07) and between cholesterol-adjusted CoQ10 concentration (Spearman's, p≤1E-14) and the proportion of the oxidized form of CoQ10. These correlations were not dependent on age and sex and were attenuated by supplementation with 150 mg/day reduced CoQ10 for 14 days. Overall, our results are useful to define risk groups with critical CoQ10 status in humans. In particular, older subjects were characterized by impaired CoQ10 status due to their lowered serum CoQ10 concentration and concomitant decrease of CoQ10 redox capacity.
Keywords: age; coenzyme Q10; oxidative stress; redox status; sex; ubiquinol.