Life Extension Magazine August 2013


Mitochondrial function as a determinant of life span.

Average human life expectancy has progressively increased over many decades largely due to improvements in nutrition, vaccination, antimicrobial agents, and effective treatment/prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc. Maximal life span, in contrast, has changed very little. Caloric restriction (CR) increases maximal life span in many species, in concert with improvements in mitochondrial function. These effects have yet to be demonstrated in humans, and the duration and level of CR required to extend life span in animals is not realistic in humans. Physical activity (voluntary exercise) continues to hold much promise for increasing healthy life expectancy in humans, but remains to show any impact to increase maximal life span. However, longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans is related to activity levels, possibly through maintenance of mitochondrial function throughout the life span. In humans, we reported a progressive decline in muscle mitochondrial DNA abundance and protein synthesis with age. Other investigators also noted age-related declines in muscle mitochondrial function, which are related to peak oxygen uptake. Long-term aerobic exercise largely prevented age-related declines in mitochondrial DNA abundance and function in humans and may increase spontaneous activity levels in mice. Notwithstanding, the impact of aerobic exercise and activity levels on maximal life span is uncertain. It is proposed that age-related declines in mitochondrial content and function not only affect physical function, but also play a major role in regulation of life span. Regular aerobic exercise and prevention of adiposity by healthy diet may increase healthy life expectancy and prolong life span through beneficial effects at the level of the mitochondrion.

Pflugers Arch. 2010 Jan;459(2):277-89

Coenzyme Q10 decreases amyloid pathology and improves behavior in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.

Increased oxidative stress is implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A large body of evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction and increased reactive oxygen species occur prior to amyloid-β (Aβ) deposition. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a component of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, is well characterized as a neuroprotective antioxidant in animal models and human trials of Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and reduces plaque burden in AβPP/PS1 mice. We now show that CoQ10 reduces oxidative stress and amyloid pathology and improves behavioral performance in the Tg19959 mouse model of AD. CoQ10 treatment decreased brain levels of protein carbonyls, a marker of oxidative stress. CoQ10 treatment resulted in decreased plaque area and number in hippocampus and in overlying cortex immunostained with an Aβ42-specific antibody. Brain Aβ42 levels were also decreased by CoQ10 supplementation. Levels of amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP) β-carboxyterminal fragments were decreased. Importantly, CoQ10-treated mice showed improved cognitive performance during Morris water maze testing. Our results show decreased pathology and improved behavior in transgenic AD mice treated with the naturally occurring antioxidant compound CoQ10. CoQ10 is well tolerated in humans and may
be promising for therapeutic trials in AD.

J Alzheimers Dis. 2011;27(1):211-23

Reversal of mitochondrial dysfunction by coenzyme Q10 supplement improves endothelial function in patients with ischaemic left ventricular systolic dysfunction: a randomized controlled trial.

AIMS: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is associated with endothelial dysfunction and mitochondrial dysfunction (MD). The aim of this study was to investigate whether co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ) supplementation, which is an obligatory coenzyme in the mitochondrial respiratory transport chain, can reverse MD and improve endothelial function in patients with ischaemic left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD). METHODS AND RESULTS: We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effects of CoQ supplement (300 mg/day, n=28) vs. placebo (controls, n=28) for 8 weeks on brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in patients with ischaemic LVSD(left ventricular ejection fraction <45%). Mitochondrial function was determined by plasma lactate/pyruvate ratio (LP ratio). After 8 weeks, CoQ-treated patients had significant increases in plasma CoQ concentration (treatment effect 2.20 µg/mL, P<0.001) and FMD (treatment effect 1.51%, P=0.03); and decrease in LP ratio (treatment effect -2.46, P=0.03) compared with controls. However, CoQ treatment did not alter nitroglycerin-mediated dilation, blood pressure, blood levels of fasting glucose, haemoglobin A1c, lipid profile, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and oxidative stress as determined by serum superoxide dismutase and 8-isoprostane (all P>0.05). Furthermore, the reduction in LP ratio significantly correlated with improvement in FMD (r=-0.29, P=0.047). CONCLUSION: In patients with ischaemic LVSD, 8 weeks supplement of CoQ improved mitochondrial function and FMD; and the improvement of FMD correlated with the change in mitochondrial function, suggesting that CoQ improved endothelial function via reversal of mitochondrial dysfunction in patients with ischaemic LVSD.

Atherosclerosis. 2011 Jun;216(2):395-401

Cardiovascular mortality and N-terminal-proBNP reduced after combined selenium and coenzyme Q10 supplementation: A 5-year prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial among elderly Swedish citizens.

BACKGROUND: Selenium and coenzyme Q10 are essential for the cell. Low cardiac contents of selenium and coenzyme Q10 have been shown in patients with cardiomyopathy, but inconsistent results are published on the effect of supplementation of the two components separately. A vital relationship exists between the two substances to obtain optimal function of the cell. However, reports on combined supplements are lacking. METHODS: A 5-year prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial among Swedish citizens aged 70 to 88 was performed in 443 participants given combined supplementation of selenium and coenzyme Q10 or a placebo. Clinical examinations, echocardiography and biomarker measurements were performed. Participants were monitored every 6th month throughout the intervention. The cardiac biomarker N-terminal proBNP (NT-proBNP) and echocardiographic changes were monitored and mortalities were registered. End-points of mortality were evaluated by Kaplan-Meier plots and Cox proportional hazard ratios were adjusted for potential confounding factors. Intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses were applied. RESULTS: During a follow up time of 5.2 years a significant reduction of cardiovascular mortality was found in the active treatment group vs. the placebo group (5.9% vs. 12.6%; P=0.015). NT-proBNP levels were significantly lower in the active group compared with the placebo group (mean values: 214 ng/L vs. 302 ng/L at 48 months; P=0.014). In echocardiography a significant better cardiac function score was found in the active supplementation compared to the placebo group (P=0.03). CONCLUSION: Long-term supplementation of selenium/coenzyme Q10 reduces cardiovascular mortality. The positive effects could also be seen in NT-proBNP levels and on echocardiography.

Int J Cardiol. 2012 May 22

Exercise training increases mitochondrial biogenesis in the brain.

Increased muscle mitochondria are largely responsible for the increased resistance to fatigue and health benefits ascribed to exercise training. However, very little attention has been given to the likely benefits of increased brain mitochondria in this regard. We examined the effects of exercise training on markers of both brain and muscle mitochondrial biogenesis in relation to endurance capacity assessed by a treadmill run to fatigue (RTF) in mice. Male ICR mice were assigned to exercise (EX) or sedentary (SED) conditions (n = 16-19/group). EX mice performed 8 wk of treadmill running for 1 h/day, 6 days/wk at 25 m/min and a 5% incline. Twenty-four hours after the last training bout a subgroup of mice (n = 9-11/group) were euthanized, and brain (brain stem, cerebellum, cortex, frontal lobe, hippocampus, hypothalamus, and midbrain) and muscle (soleus) tissues were isolated for analysis of mRNA expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1-alpha (PGC-1α), Silent Information Regulator T1 (SIRT1), citrate synthase (CS), and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) using RT-PCR. A different subgroup of EX and SED mice (n = 7-8/group) performed a treadmill RTF test. Exercise training increased PGC-1α, SIRT1, and CS mRNA and mtDNA in most brain regions in addition to the soleus (P < 0.05). Mean treadmill RTF increased from 74.0 ± 9.6 min to 126.5 ± 16.1 min following training (P < 0.05). These findings suggest that exercise training increases brain mitochondrial biogenesis, which may have important implications, not only with regard to fatigue, but also with respect to various central nervous system diseases and age-related dementia that are often characterized by mitochondrial dysfunction.

J Appl Physiol. 2011 Oct;111(4):1066-71

Pyrroloquinoline quinone stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis through cAMP response element-binding protein phosphorylation and increased PGC-1alpha expression.

Bioactive compounds reported to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis are linked to many health benefits such increased longevity, improved energy utilization, and protection from reactive oxygen species. Previously studies have shown that mice and rats fed diets lacking in pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) have reduced
mitochondrial content. Therefore, we hypothesized that PQQ can induce mitochondrial biogenesis in mouse hepatocytes. Exposure of mouse Hepa1-6 cells to 10-30 microm PQQ for 24-48 h resulted in increased citrate synthase and cytochrome c oxidase activity, Mitotracker staining, mitochondrial DNA content, and cellular oxygen respiration. The induction of this process occurred through the activation of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1alpha (PGC-1alpha), a pathway known to regulate mitochondrial biogenesis. PQQ exposure stimulated phosphorylation of CREB at serine 133, activated the promoter of PGC-1alpha, and increased PGC-1alpha mRNA and protein expression. PQQ did not stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis after small interfering RNA-mediated reduction in either PGC-1alpha or CREB expression. Consistent with activation of the PGC-1alpha pathway, PQQ increased nuclear respiratory factor activation (NRF-1 and NRF-2) and Tfam, TFB1M, and TFB2M mRNA expression. Moreover, PQQ protected cells from mitochondrial inhibition by rotenone, 3-nitropropionic acid, antimycin A, and sodium azide. The ability of PQQ to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis accounts in part for action of this compound and suggests that PQQ may be beneficial in diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunction.

J Biol Chem. 2010 Jan 1;285(1):142-52

Potential physiological importance of pyrroloquinoline quinone.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a novel biofactor for which a proposition can be made for physiological importance. PQQ was first recognized as an enzyme cofactor in bacteria. It has recently been tentatively identified as a component of interstellar dust. Thus, PQQ may have been present throughout early biological conception and evolution. PQQ is also a potent plant growth factor. Consequently, for animals and humans, there has been constant exposure to PQQ. In animals, PQQ is reported to participate in a range of biological functions with apparent survival benefits (e.g., improved neonatal growth and reproductive performance). There are also benefits from PQQ supplementation related to cognitive, immune, and antioxidant functions, as well as protection from cardiac and neurological ischemic events. Although PQQ is not currently viewed as a vitamin, its involvement in cell signaling pathways, particularly those important to mitochondriogenesis in experimental animal models, may eventually provide a rationale for defining PQQ as vital to life. For humans, such evidence suggests there may be similar parallels or benefits from improving PQQ status.

Altern Med Rev. 2009 Sep;14(3):268-77

Identification of transcriptional networks responding to pyrroloquinoline quinone dietary supplementation and their influence on thioredoxin expression, and the JAK/STAT and MAPK pathways.

PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone) improves energy utilization and reproductive performance when added to rodent diets devoid of PQQ. In the present paper we describe changes in gene expression patterns and transcriptional networks that respond to dietary PQQ restriction or pharmacological administration. Rats were fed diets either deficient in PQQ (PQQ-) or supplemented with PQQ (approx. 6 nmol of PQQ/g of food; PQQ+). In addition, groups of rats were either repleted by administering PQQ to PQQ- rats (1.5 mg of PQQ intraperitoneal/kg of body weight at 12 h intervals for 36 h; PQQ-/+) or partially depleted by feeding the PQQ- diet to PQQ+ rats for 48 h (PQQ+/-). RNA extracted from liver and a Codelink(R) UniSet Rat I Bioarray system were used to assess gene transcript expression. Of the approx. 10000 rat sequences and control probes analysed, 238 were altered at the P<0.01 level by feeding on the PQQ- diet for 10 weeks. Short-term PQQ depletion resulted in changes in 438 transcripts (P<0.01). PQQ repletion reversed the changes in transcript expression caused by PQQ deficiency and resulted in an alteration of 847 of the total transcripts examined (P<0.01). Genes important for cellular stress (e.g. thioredoxin), mitochondriogenesis, cell signalling [JAK (Janus kinase)/STAT (signal transducer and activator of transcription) and MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) pathways] and transport were most affected. qRT-PCR (quantitative real-time PCR) and functional assays aided in validating such processes as principal targets. Collectively, the results provide a mechanistic basis for previous functional observations associated with PQQ deficiency or PQQ administered in pharmacological amounts.

Biochem J. 2010 Aug 1;429(3):515-26

Mitochondrial dysfunction, proteotoxicity, and aging: causes or effects, and the possible impact of NAD+-controlled protein glycation.

Aging is frequently characterized by the accumulation of altered proteins and dysfunctional mitochondria. This review discusses possible causes of these effects, their interdependence and the impact of energy metabolism on proteostasis, especially formation and elimination of altered proteins. It is suggested NAD+ to some degree regulates formation of aberrant proteins and generation of oxygen free-radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS), because when NAD+ is limiting, glycolytic triose phosphates spontaneously decompose into methylglyoxal (MG), a highly deleterious glycating agent and ROS inducer. That NAD+ has stimulatory effects on stress protein expression and autophagy, while mitochondria regenerate NAD+ from NADH, further integrates energy metabolism into proteostasis. It is suggested that, as altered proteins can deleteriously interact with mitochondria, changes in synthesis, or elimination, of cytosolic error-proteins will affect mitochondrial activity. It is also suggested that functional mitochondria are essentially antiaging agents, while their dysfunction or inactivity accelerate ROS formation and aging. These proposals may also help explain the oxygen paradox that while ROS may be causal to aging, increased mitochondrial activity (i.e., oxygen utilization) suppresses aging and much associated pathology. Increased synthesis of glutathione, humanin, and mitochondrial chaperone proteins are other additional consequences of increased mitogenesis and which would help ensure proteostasis.

Adv Clin Chem. 2010;50:123-50

Coenzyme Q10 deficiency in mitochondrial DNA depletion syndromes.

We evaluated coenzyme Q10 (CoQ) levels in patients studied under suspicion of mitochondrial DNA depletion syndromes (MDS) (n=39). CoQ levels were quantified by HPLC, and the percentage of mtDNA depletion by quantitative real-time PCR. A high percentage of MDS patients presented with CoQ deficiency as compared to other mitochondrial patients (Mann-Whitney-U test: p=0.001). Our findings suggest that MDS are frequently associated with CoQ deficiency, as a possible secondary consequence of disease pathophysiology. Assessment of muscle CoQ status seems advisable in MDS patients since the possibility of CoQ supplementation may then be considered as a candidate therapy.

Mitochondrion. 2013 Apr 11;13(4):337-341