Preventing and Reducing the Cellular Damage in Traumatic Brain Injury Using Ubiquinol


Name: Janet Pierce

Rank: CAPT(ret)

Organization: University of Kansas Medical Center

Performance Site: University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS

Year Published: 2014

Abstract Status: Project Completed


In Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn over 30% of  military personnel had a traumatic brain injury (TBI). With the increased prevalence and complexity of TBI among warfighters, there are challenges requiring new methods for injury evaluation and treatment. With TBI, there is increased oxidative stress, a reduction in cellular bioenergetics, and insufficient antioxidants to scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) leading to alterations in brain function and structure. Thus, a more potent antioxidant such as ubiquinol (active/reduced form of CoQ10) could be used BEFORE and AFTER a TBI to reduce oxidative stress and maintain cellular bioenergetics. In a TBI rat model, we have observed increased brain oxidative stress and reduced bioenergetics within one hour of a TBI using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS). In addition, when we administered intra-arterial ubiquinol, rats had a significant reduction in brain apoptosis and mitochondrial damage. Our broad long-term OBJECTIVE of this grant is to determine if administering ubiquinol (100 mg/kg) BEFORE and AFTER TBI will reduce brain cellular damage. 

1. AIM #1: To examine the effects of ubiquinol (active/reduced CoQ10) in preventing cellular damage in rats with TBI. In this experimental design, we will administer intra-arterial ubiquinol BEFORE a TBI and measure brain apoptosis, 1H-MRS of brain oxidative stress and bioenergetics, and serum brain TBI biomarkers.

2. AIM #2: To examine the effects of ubiquinol (active/reduced CoQ10) in treating rats with TBI. In these experiments, we will administer the equivalent dose of ubiquinol AFTER a TBI and measure the same variables listed in Aim #1. 

Results will demonstrate that ubiquinol could be an adjunct therapy for TBI that could be used to prevent and treat the cellular damage that accompanies TBI. The proposed innovative measurements of 1H-MRS brain neurochemicals and serum biomarkers of TBI will provide a method that could be translated to humans.


Final Report is available on NTRL: