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Biofactors. 2005;25(1-4):61-6.

Effects of menopause and hormone replacement therapy on serum levels of coenzyme Q10 and other lipid-soluble antioxidants.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center-Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NY 10457, USA.


The present study examines the influence of menopause and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on serum levels of coenzyme Q(10) and other lipid-soluble antioxidants in normal women. Serum levels of coenzyme Q(10), alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, beta-carotene and lycopene in 50 premenopausal women (not using oral contraceptives), 33 healthy postmenopausal and 15 postmenopausal women on HRT ("Prempo"; combination of 0.625 mg conjugated estrogen and 2.5 mg medroxyprogesterone acetate) were measured by high-pressure liquid chromatography. Lipid profiles were also analyzed. Significantly higher serum coenzyme Q(10) and alpha-tocopherol levels were detected in postmenopausal compared with premenopausal women (P < 0.05, and < 0.001); whereas, in postmenopausal subjects on HRT, we detected a significant decrease in coenzyme Q(10) and gamma-tocopherol levels (P < 0.001, and < 0.05) and increased alpha-tocopherol levels (P < 0.05). Serum levels of beta-carotene, lycopene, LDL, HDL, cholesterol and triglyceride were comparable among the study groups. Coenzyme Q(10) is postulated to be involved in preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) because of its bioenergetics role in the mitochondrial respiratory chain and its antioxidant properties at the mitochondrial and extramitochondrial levels. The decrease in serum concentrations of coenzyme Q(10), produced by HRT, may promote oxygen free radical-induced membrane damage and may, thus alter cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women. HRT-induced reductions in lipid-soluble antioxidant(s) levels, and its potential consequences on CVD, needs to be further investigated.

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