Ubiquinol treatment for TBI in male rats: Effects on mitochondrial integrity, injury severity, and neurometabolism.
J Neurosci Res. 2018 Jan 30. Epub 2018 Jan 30. PMID: 29380912
Janet D Pierce
Following traumatic brain injury (TBI), there is significant secondary damage to cerebral tissue from increased free radicals and impaired mitochondrial function. This imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and the effectiveness of cellular antioxidant defenses is termed oxidative stress. Often there are insufficient antioxidants to scavenge ROS, leading to alterations in cerebral structure and function. Attenuating oxidative stress following a TBI by administering an antioxidant may decrease secondary brain injury, and currently many drugs and supplements are being investigated. We explored an over-the-counter supplement called ubiquinol (reduced form of coenzyme Q10), a potent antioxidant naturally produced in brain mitochondria. We administered intra-arterial ubiquinol to rats to determine if it would reduce mitochondrial damage, apoptosis, and severity of a contusive TBI. Adult male F344 rats were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) Saline-TBI, (2) ubiquinol 30 minutes before TBI (UB-PreTBI), or (3) ubiquinol 30 minutes after TBI (UB-PostTBI). We found when ubiquinol was administered before or after TBI, rats had an acute reduction in brain mitochondrial damage, apoptosis, and two serum biomarkers of TBI severity, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1). However, in vivo neurometabolic assessment with proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy did not show attenuated injury-induced changes. These findings are the first to show that ubiquinol preserves mitochondria and reduces cellular injury severity after TBI, and support further study of ubiquinol as a promising adjunct therapy for TBI.