Short-term effects of coenzyme Q10 in progressive supranuclear palsy: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial



Mitochondrial complex I appears to be dysfunctional in progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a physiological cofactor of complex I. Therefore, we evaluated the short-term effects of CoQ10 in PSP. We performed a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, phase II trial, including 21 clinically probable PSP patients (stage ≤ III) to receive a liquid nanodispersion of CoQ10 (5 mg/kg/day) or matching placebo. Over a 6-week period, we determined the change in CoQ10 serum concentration, cerebral energy metabolites (by 31P- and 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy), motor and neuropsychological dysfunction (PSP rating scale, UPDRS III, Hoehn and Yahr stage, Frontal Assessment Battery, Mini Mental Status Examination, Montgomery Åsberg Depression Scale). CoQ10 was safe and well tolerated. In patients receiving CoQ10 compared to placebo, the concentration of low-energy phosphates (adenosine-diphosphate, unphosphorylated creatine) decreased. Consequently, the ratio of high-energy phosphates to low-energy phosphates (adenosine-triphosphate to adenosine-diphosphate, phospho-creatine to unphosphorylated creatine) increased. These changes were significant in the occipital lobe and showed a consistent trend in the basal ganglia. Clinically, the PSP rating scale and the Frontal Assessment Battery improved slightly, but significantly, upon CoQ10 treatment compared to placebo. Since CoQ10 appears to improve cerebral energy metabolism in PSP, long-term treatment might have a disease-modifying, neuroprotective effect. © 2008 Movement Disorder Society