Effects of oral administration of common antioxidant supplements on the energy metabolism of red blood cells. Attenuation of oxidative stress-induced changes in Rett syndrome erythrocytes by CoQ10


Nutritional supplements are traditionally employed for overall health and for managing some health conditions, although controversies are found concerning the role of antioxidants‐mediated benefits in vivo. Consistently with its critical role in systemic redox buffering, red blood cell (RBC) is recognized as a biologically relevant target to investigate the effects of oxidative stress. In RBC, reduction of the ATP levels and adenylate energy charge brings to disturbance in intracellular redox status. In the present work, several popular antioxidant supplements were orally administrated to healthy adults and examined for their ability to induce changes on the energy metabolism and oxidative status in RBC. Fifteen volunteers (3 per group) were treated for 30 days per os with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) (1 g green tea extract containing 50% EGCG), resveratrol (325 mg), coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) (300 mg), vitamin C (1 g), and vitamin E (400 U.I.). Changes in the cellular levels of high-energy compounds (i.e., ATP and its catabolites, NAD and GTP), GSH, GSSG, and malondialdehyde (MDA) were simultaneously analyzed by ion-pairing HPLC. Response to oxidative stress was further investigated through the oxygen radical absorptive capacity (ORAC) assay. According to our experimental approach, (i) CoQ10 appeared to be the most effective antioxidant inducing a high increase in ATP/ADP, ATP/AMP, GSH/GSSG ratio and ORAC value and, in turn, a reduction of NAD concentration, (ii) EGCG modestly modulated the intracellular energy charge potential, while (iii) Vitamin E, vitamin C, and resveratrol exhibited very weak effects. Given that, the antioxidant potential of CoQ10 was additionally assessed in a pilot study which considered individuals suffering from Rett syndrome (RTT), a severe X-linked neuro-developmental disorder in which RBC oxidative damages provide biological markers for redox imbalance and chronic hypoxemia. RTT patients (n = 11), with the typical clinical form, were supplemented for 12 months with CoQ10 (300 mg, once daily). Level of lipid peroxidation (MDA production) and energy state of RBCs were analyzed at 2 and 12 months. Our data suggest that CoQ10 may significantly attenuate the oxidative stress-induced damage in RTT erythrocytes.

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The Grant of MIUR (Legge 232/2016, Articolo 1, Comma 314-337) is gratefully acknowledged.

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Di Pierro, D., Ciaccio, C., Sbardella, D. et al. Effects of oral administration of common antioxidant supplements on the energy metabolism of red blood cells. Attenuation of oxidative stress-induced changes in Rett syndrome erythrocytes by CoQ10. Mol Cell Biochem 463, 101–113 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11010-019-03633-5

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  • Energy metabolism
  • Red blood cells
  • Antioxidant
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Rett syndrome