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Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Aug;29(3-4):285-94.

Regulation of ubiquinone metabolism.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Stockholm University, Sweden.


Interest in ubiquinone (UQ) has increased during recent years, mainly because of its antioxidant function and its use as a dietary supplement. However, our knowledge of the biosynthesis, catabolism, and regulation of this lipid in mammalian tissues is quite limited. UQ exhibits a high rate of turnover in all tissues indicating that cells possess efficient metabolic pathways for handling this compound and controlling its tissue levels. Besides reviewing the generally accepted metabolic pathway, alternative synthetic mechanisms are described. The lack of data concerning catabolism and regulation of this compound is emphasized. Reasons for the rather limited uptake of dietary UQ are discussed and alternative mechanisms for its beneficial effects on organ function are suggested. Since appropriate tissue uptake of dietary UQ probably only occurs in deficient states, the definition of partial UQ deficiency and its consequences is urgently needed. The possibility of raising tissue UQ levels by drug treatment or natural metabolites is raised as a choice of preference for the future.

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