Muralikrishnan Dhanasekaran and Jun Ren
Coenzyme Q (ubiquinone, 2-methyl-5,6-dimethoxy-1,4-benzoquinone), soluble natural fat quinine, is crucial to optimal biological function. The coenzyme Q molecule has amphipathic (biphasic) properties due to the hydrophilic benzoquinone ring and the lipophilic poly isoprenoid side-chain. The nomenclature of coenzyme Q-n is based on the amount of isoprenoid units attached to 6-position on the benzoquinone ring. It was demonstrated that coenzyme Q, in addition to its role in electron transport and proton transfer in mitochondrial and bacterial respiration, acts in its reduced form (ubiquinol) as an antioxidant. Coenzyme Q-10 functions as a lipid antioxidant regulating membrane fluidity, recycling radical forms of vitamin C and E, and protecting membrane phospholipids against peroxidation. The antioxidant property, high degree of hydrophobicity and universal occurrence in biological system, suggest an important role for ubiquinone and ubiquinol in cellular defense against oxidative damage. Coenzyme Q-10 is a ubiquitous and endogenous lipid-soluble antioxidant found in all organisms. Neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus and especially aging and Alzheimers disease exhibit altered levels of ubiquinone or ubiquinol, indicating their likely crucial role in the pathogenesis and cellular mechanisms of these ailments. This review is geared to discuss the biological effect of coenzyme Q with an emphasis on its impact in initiation, progression, treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative, cardiovascular and carcinogenic diseases.