, Volume 214, Issue 1–2, pp 11–18 | Cite as

Coenzyme Q and vitamin E need each other as antioxidants

  • V. E. Kagan
  • J. P. Fabisiak
  • P. J. Quinn
Focus on Cellular Biochemistry


Both vitamin E and coenzyme Q possess distinct lipoprotective antioxidant properties in biological membranes. Their combined antioxidant activity, however, is markedly synergistic when both are present together. While it is likely that vitamin E represents the initial chain-breaking antioxidant during lipid peroxidation, both fully reduced CoQH2 (ubiquinol) and semireduced CoQH. (ubisemiquinone) appear to efficiently recycle the resultant vitamin E phenoxyl radical back to its biologically active reduced form. We describe and support a potential kinetic mechanism whereby vitamin E and coenzyme Q interact in such a way as to usurp the prooxidant effects of O 2 −. . Physical interactions of vitamin E and coenzyme Q within the environment of the membrane lipid bilayer facilitate the recycling of vitamin E by ubisemiquinone and ubiquinol. Lastly, data are linked into a catalytic cycle that serves to connect normal electron transport mechanisms within biological membranes to the maintenance of lipoprotective antioxidant mechanisms.


Vitamin E Coenzyme Q Electron transport Antioxidant Lipid peroxidation Superoxide 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. E. Kagan
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. P. Fabisiak
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. J. Quinn
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Occupational HealthUniversity of Pittsburgh School of Public HealthPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryKing’s College LondonLondon

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