Author(s): Molyneux SL, Young JM, Florkowski CM, Lever M, George PM
Coenzyme Q(10) (CoQ(10)) is an essential cofactor in the mitochondrial electron transport pathway, and is also a lipid-soluble antioxidant. It is endogenously synthesised via the mevalonate pathway, and some is obtained from the diet. CoQ(10) supplements are available over the counter from health food shops and pharmacies. CoQ(10) deficiency has been implicated in several clinical disorders, including but not confined to heart failure, hypertension, Parkinson's disease and malignancy. Statin, 3-hydroxy-3- methyl-glutaryl (HMG)-CoA reductase inhibitor therapy inhibits conversion of HMG-CoA to mevalonate and lowers plasma CoQ(10) concentrations. The case for measurement of plasma CoQ(10) is based on the relationship between levels and outcomes, as in chronic heart failure, where it may identify individuals most likely to benefit from supplementation therapy. During CoQ(10) supplementation plasma CoQ(10) levels should be monitored to ensure efficacy, given that there is variable bioavailability between commercial formulations, and known inter-individual variation in CoQ(10) absorption. Knowledge of biological variation and reference change values is important to determine whether a significant change in plasma CoQ(10) has occurred, whether a reduction for example following statin therapy or an increase following supplementation. Emerging evidence will determine whether CoQ(10) does indeed have an important clinical role and in particular, whether there is a case for measurement.