Influence of Chronic Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation on Cognitive Function, Learning, and Memory in Healthy and Diabetic Middle-Aged Rats

Neuropsychobiology. 2019;77(2):92-100. doi: 10.1159/000495520. Epub 2018 Dec 21.


Diabetes mellitus can induce impairment in learning and memory. Cognitive and memory deficits are common in older adults and especially in those with diabetes. This is mainly because of hyperglycemia, oxidative stress, and vascular abnormalities. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can decrease oxidative stress, hyperglycemia, and inflammatory markers, and improve vascular function. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the possible effects of CoQ10 on cognitive function, learning, and memory in middle-aged healthy and diabetic rats. Adult middle-aged male Wistar rats (390-460 g, 12-13 months old) were divided into 6 experimental groups. Diabetes was induced by a single i.p. injection of streptozotocin (60 mg/kg). CoQ10 (20 or 120 mg/kg, orally by gavage) was administered for 45 days. The cognitive function and learning memory of rats were evaluated using novel object recognition (NOR) and passive avoidance tests. The discrimination index of the NOR test in the diabetic groups receiving CoQ10 (20 or 120 mg/kg) and the healthy group receiving CoQ10 (120 mg/kg) was significantly higher than that in the control group. In addition, the step through latency was significantly longer and the time spent in the dark compartment was significantly shorter in the diabetic groups receiving CoQ10 than in the control group. CoQ10 supplementation can improve learning and memory deficits induced by diabetes in older subjects. In addition, CoQ10 at higher doses can improve cognitive performance in older healthy subjects.

Keywords: Coenzyme Q10; Diabetes; Novel object recognition; Passive avoidance.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Aging / psychology
  • Animals
  • Cognition*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / psychology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Learning Disabilities / diet therapy
  • Learning Disabilities / etiology
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diet therapy
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Memory*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Ubiquinone / administration & dosage
  • Ubiquinone / analogs & derivatives*


  • Ubiquinone
  • coenzyme Q10