Neuroprotective effects of coenzyme Q10 on paraquat-induced Parkinson’s disease in experimental animals

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects ∼1–2% of the elderly population. Development of a neuroprotective therapy that may be initiated early in the course of the disease to retard/prevent disease progression is highly desirable. This study aimed to investigate prophylactic treatment with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) before paraquat (PQ) exposure, a herbicide known to increase the risk for PD, to attain neuroprotection. In addition, therapeutic intervention with CoQ10 in mice already exposed to PQ (24 h) might halt ongoing neurodegeneration and behavioural deterioration. PD was induced experimentally in mice by an injection of PQ (10 mg/kg, intraperitoneal), twice a week for 3 consecutive weeks, either before or after the initiation of treatment with CoQ10 (200 mg/kg). The results of the sustained supplementation with CoQ10, prophylactically and therapeutically, were compared with L-DOPA (100 mg/kg). A battery of behavioural tests was performed, in addition to estimation of protein carbonyl in the brain. CoQ10 elicited a remarkable improvement in most of the behavioural tests and decreased protein carbonyl content in the brain, particularly when it was initiated before rather than after PQ induction of PD. Therefore, CoQ10, which protects against mitochondrial damage, may be beneficial in slowing the progression of PD, particularly when initiated as prophylactic treatment.

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