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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1985 Jul;82(13):4513-6.

Biochemical rationale and the cardiac response of patients with muscle disease to therapy with coenzyme Q10.


Cardiac disease is commonly associated with virtually every form of muscular dystrophy and myopathy. A double-blind and open crossover trial on the oral administration of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to 12 patients with progressive muscular dystrophies and neurogenic atrophies was conducted. These diseases included the Duchenne, Becker, and limb-girdle dystrophies, myotonic dystrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and Welander disease. The impaired cardiac function was noninvasively and extensively monitored by impedance cardiography. Solely by significant change or no change in stroke volume and cardiac output, all 8 patients on blind CoQ10 and all 4 on blind placebo were correctly assigned (P less than 0.003). After the limited 3-month trial, improved physical well-being was observed for 4/8 treated patients and for 0/4 placebo patients; of the latter, 3/4 improved on CoQ10; 2/8 patients resigned before crossover; 5/6 on CoQ10 in crossover maintained improved cardiac function; 1/6 crossed over from CoQ10 to placebo relapsed. The rationale of this trial was based on known mitochondrial myopathies, which involve respiratory enzymes, the known presence of CoQ10 in respiration, and prior clinical data on CoQ10 and dystrophy. These results indicate that the impaired myocardial function of such patients with muscular disease may have some association with impaired function of skeletal muscle, both of which may be improved by CoQ10 therapy. The cardiac improvement was definitely positive. The improvement in well-being was subjective, but probably real. Likely, CoQ10 does not alter genetic defects but can benefit the sequelae of mitochondrial impairment from such defects. CoQ10 is the only known substance that offers a safe and improved quality of life for such patients having muscle disease, and it is based on intrinsic bioenergetics.

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