Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ) treatment monitoring is a matter of debate since CoQ distribution from plasma to blood cells and tissues is not fully understood. We aimed to analyze the CoQ levels in a wide set of human biological samples (plasma, blood mononuclear cells (BMCs), platelets, urinary cells, and skeletal muscle) from a group of 11 healthy male runners before and after CoQ supplementation. The CoQ content in the different samples was analyzed by HPLC coupled to electrochemical detection. No significant differences were observed in the CoQ levels measured in the BMCs, platelets, and urine after the one-month treatment period. Plasma CoQ (expressed in absolute values and values relative to total cholesterol) significantly increased after CoQ supplementation (p = 0.003 in both cases), and the increase in CoQ in muscle approached significance (p = 0.074). CoQ levels were increased in the plasma of all supplemented subjects, and muscle CoQ levels were increased in 8 out of 10 supplemented subjects. In conclusion, the analysis of CoQ in plasma samples seems to be the best surrogate biomarker for CoQ treatment monitoring. Moreover, oral CoQ administration was effective for increasing muscle CoQ concentrations in most subjects.
Keywords: antioxidants; blood mononuclear cells; coenzyme Q10; plasma; platelets; skeletal muscle; supplementation; treatment monitoring; urine.