Characterization of cellular uptake and distribution of coenzyme Q10 and vitamin E in PC12 cells

Yoshiro Saito, Akiko Fukuhara, Keiko Nishio, Mieko Hayakawa, Yoko Ogawa, Hirokazu Sakamoto, Kenji Fujii, Yasukazu Yoshida, Etsuo Niki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Coenzyme Q (CoQ) is a well-known electron transporter in the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Furthermore, ubiquinol (UQH2) - a reduced form of ubiquinone (UQ) - has been shown to act as a radical-scavenging antioxidant. Some studies have reported the beneficial effect of CoQ addition to cultured cells; however, the cellular uptake and distribution of CoQ have not been elucidated. In the present study, we used rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells to investigate and compare the cellular uptake and distribution of CoQ10 and α-tocopherol (αT). UQ10 or UQ10H2 treatment resulted in an increase in the cellular content of both CoQ10 in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. A subcellular fractionation study revealed that the added UQ10 as well as UQ10H2 mainly localized in the mitochondrial fraction, which is similar to the localization of endogenous CoQ but different from that of αT. The cellular distribution of αT directly corresponded to the lipid distribution, while the CoQ distribution did not show any relationship with the lipid distribution, particularly in the mitochondrial and microsomal fractions. These results indicate that the cellular distribution of CoQ is completely different from that of αT; moreover, a certain system which accumulates CoQ preferentially in mitochondria may be suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-357
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009 May


  • Cellular distribution
  • Cellular uptake
  • Coenzyme Q
  • Subcellular fractionation study
  • Vitamin E


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