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Miles Parnell, Joana Galvao, Eduardo Normando, Shereen Nizari, Farzana Rahman, M Francesca Cordeiro; The Neuroprotective Effects of Coenzyme Q10 on Retinal Ganglion Cells and Its Reversal of Apoptosis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):411.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an essential cofactor in the electron transport chain as well as a potent antioxidant and has been shown to exhibit neuroprotective properties. In this study we aim to determine whether CoQ10 can protect retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) from a dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) induced apoptotic insult in vitro. In addition we aim to demonstrate a CoQ10 induced reversal of apoptosis in RGCs using live cell imaging.
Cultured RGC-5s were placed in media containing different concentrations of CoQ10 both as a CoQ10 powder dissolved in sub-toxic concentrations of DMSO (CoQ10 powder) and as a commercially available eyedrop containing α-tocopherol (CoQ10 eyedrop). DMSO was then added at a predetermined toxic dose and the cell viability was assessed at 24 hours using MTT assay. An early stage of apoptosis is phosphatidylersine (PS) exposure which can be visualised using the PS binding protein annexin labelled with the fluorphore fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC). To assess whether CoQ10 can reverse this, RGCs were pretreated with CoQ10, Hoechst and FITC labelled annexin. The cells were then treated with a DMSO insult and live cell microscopy was used to visualise the morphological changes of the cells.
CoQ10 powder preparation reduced DMSO induced apoptosis in RGCs compared to a non treated control at a concentration of 20μm (p<0.001). COQ10 eyedrops were toxic compared to control (p<0.05). Live cell imaging of RGCs labelled with FITC-annexin to stain PS as an early marker of apoptosis, showed morphological changes of apoptosis of PS exposure, apoptotic blebbing and cell death in response to a DMSO insult. In contrast, RGCs pretreated with 5μm of CoQ10 developed PS exposure to the DMSO insult which receded with CoQ10 and did not progress to apoptotic blebbing suggesting a CoQ10 reversal of apoptosis.
We have demonstrated a neuroprotective effect of CoQ10 on RGCs in vitro which is able to reverse DMSO-induced apoptosis in RGCs. The ability to protect neurons from a variety of insults using CoQ10 would be of enormous benefit not just in glaucoma but in other neurodegenerative diseases.
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