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Coenzyme Q10 Inhibits Glutamate Excitotoxicity and Oxidative Stress–Mediated Mitochondrial Alteration in a Mouse Model of GlaucomaCoQ10 Inhibits Glaucoma Mitochondrial Alteration

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To test whether a diet supplemented with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) ameliorates glutamate excitotoxicity and oxidative stress-mediated retinal ganglion cell (RGC) degeneration by preventing mitochondrial alterations in the retina of glaucomatous DBA/2J mice.


Preglaucomatous DBA/2J and age-matched control DBA/2J-Gpnmb(+) mice were fed with CoQ10 (1%) or a control diet daily for 6 months. The RGC survival and axon preservation were measured by Brn3a and neurofilament immunohistochemistry and by conventional transmission electron microscopy. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), superoxide dismutase-2 (SOD2), heme oxygenase-1 (HO1), N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NR) 1 and 2A, and Bax and phosphorylated Bad (pBad) protein expression was measured by Western blot analysis. Apoptotic cell death was assessed by TUNEL staining. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam)/oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complex IV protein expression were measured by real-time PCR and Western blot analysis.


Coenzyme Q10 promoted RGC survival by approximately 29% and preserved the axons in the optic nerve head (ONH), as well as inhibited astroglial activation by decreasing GFAP expression in the retina and ONH of glaucomatous DBA/2J mice. Intriguingly, CoQ10 significantly blocked the upregulation of NR1 and NR2A, as well as of SOD2 and HO1 protein expression in the retina of glaucomatous DBA/2J mice. In addition, CoQ10 significantly prevented apoptotic cell death by decreasing Bax protein expression or by increasing pBad protein expression. More importantly, CoQ10 preserved mtDNA content and Tfam/OXPHOS complex IV protein expression in the retina of glaucomatous DBA/2J mice.


Our findings suggest that CoQ10 may be a promising therapeutic strategy for ameliorating glutamate excitotoxicity and oxidative stress in glaucomatous neurodegeneration.

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