Background: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) plays a critical role in mitochondrial oxidative
phosphorylation by serving as an electron carrier in the respiratory electron transport chain.
CoQ10 also functions as a lipid-soluble antioxidant by protecting lipids, proteins and DNA damaged
by oxidative stress. CoQ10 deficiency has been associated with a number of human diseases
in which CoQ10 supplementation therapy has been effective in slowing or reversing pathological
changes. Oxidative stress is a major contributory factor in the process of retinal degeneration.
Method: The related literature was reviewed through searching PubMed using keywords:
CoQ10, CoQ10 and oxidative stress, CoQ10 and retinal degeneration. The functions of CoQ10
were summarized and its use in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma
highlighted. The therapeutic potential of CoQ10 for other retinal diseases was also discussed.
Results: CoQ10 has been applied in different types of neurodegeneration. CoQ10 is detectable in
retina and declines with ageing. Early studies showed treatment of CoQ10 improved visual function
in patients with age-related macular degeneration. In glaucomatous models, CoQ10 exposure
protected ganglion cell death from environmental stress; in glaucoma patients, CoQ10 treatment
demonstrated beneficial effects on function of inner retina and enhancement of visual cortical
response. Since oxidative stress also plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy
and retinitis pigmentosa, CoQ10 is a therapeutic target for both conditions.
Conclusion: A wide range of evidence supports a role of CoQ10 in retinal diseases through inhibiting
production of reactive oxygen species and protecting neuroretinal cells from oxidative