CoQ10 increases mitochondrial mass and polarization, ATP and Oct4 potency levels, and bovine oocyte MII during IVM while decreasing AMPK activity and oocyte death

J Assist Reprod Genet. 2017 Dec;34(12):1595-1607. doi: 10.1007/s10815-017-1027-y. Epub 2017 Sep 12.


Purpose: We tested whether mitochondrial electron transport chain electron carrier coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) increases ATP during bovine IVM and increases %M2 oocytes, mitochondrial polarization/mass, and Oct4, and decreases pAMPK and oocyte death.

Methods: Bovine oocytes were aspirated from ovaries and cultured in IVM media for 24 h with 0, 20, 40, or 60 μM CoQ10. Oocytes were assayed for ATP by luciferase-based luminescence. Oocyte micrographs were quantitated for Oct4, pAMPK (i.e., activity), polarization by JC1 staining, and mitochondrial mass by MitoTracker Green staining.

Results: CoQ10 at 40 μM was optimal. Oocytes at 40 μM enabled 1.9-fold more ATP than 0 μM CoQ10. There was 4.3-fold less oocyte death, 1.7-fold more mitochondrial charge polarization, and 3.1-fold more mitochondrial mass at 40 μM than at 0 μM CoQ10. Increased ATP was associated with 2.2-fold lower AMPK thr172P activation and 2.1-fold higher nuclear Oct4 stemness/potency protein at 40 μM than at 0 μM CoQ10. CoQ10 is hydrophobic, and at all doses, 50% was lost from media into oil by ~ 12 h. Replenishing CoQ10 at 12 h did not significantly diminish dead oocytes.

Conclusions: The data suggest that CoQ10 improves mitochondrial function in IVM where unwanted stress, higher AMPK activity, and Oct4 potency loss are induced.

Keywords: AMPK; ATP; CoQ10; Death; Mitochondria; Oct4 potency factors.

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cattle
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Female
  • In Vitro Oocyte Maturation Techniques / methods*
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-2
  • Octamer Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Oocytes / drug effects
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Oocytes / pathology*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Ubiquinone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ubiquinone / pharmacology
  • Vitamins / pharmacology


  • Octamer Transcription Factor-2
  • Octamer Transcription Factors
  • Vitamins
  • Ubiquinone
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Protein Kinases
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • coenzyme Q10