Concurrent administration of coenzyme Q10 and α-tocopherol improves learning in aged mice

Shelley R. Mcdonald, Rajindar S. Sohal, Michael J. Forster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


The main purpose of this study was to determine whether supplemental intake of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ) (ubiquinone-10) or α-tocopherol, either alone or together, could improve brain function of aged mice, as reflected in their cognitive or psychomotor performance. Separate groups of aged mice (24 months) were administered either CoQ (123 mg/kg/day), or α-tocopherol acetate (200 mg/kg/day), or both, or the vehicle (soybean oil) via gavage for a period of 14 weeks. Three weeks following the initiation of these treatments, mice were given a battery of age-sensitive behavioral tests for the assessment of learning, recent memory, and psychomotor function. In a test that required the mice to rapidly identify and remember the correct arm of a T-maze, and to respond preemptively in order to avoid an electric shock, the intake of α-tocopherol plus CoQ resulted in more rapid learning compared to the control group. Learning was not significantly improved in the mice receiving CoQ or α-tocopherol alone. None of the treatments resulted in a significant improvement of psychomotor performance in the old mice. In a separate study, treatment with higher doses of CoQ alone (250 or 500 mg/kg/day) for 14 weeks failed to produce effects comparable to those of the combination of α-tocopherol and CoQ. The apparent interaction of CoQ and α-tocopherol treatments is consistent with the previous suggestion, based on biochemical studies, that coenzyme Q and α-tocopherol act in concert. Overall, the findings suggest that concurrent supplementation of α-tocopherol with CoQ is more likely to be effective as a potential treatment for age-related learning deficits than supplementation with CoQ or α-tocopherol alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-736
Number of pages8
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2005


  • Antioxidant
  • Antioxidant combination
  • C57BL/6 mice
  • Cognitive decline
  • Free radicals
  • Psychmotor function
  • Recent memory
  • Ubiquinone-10
  • Vitamin E


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