Ubiquinone protects cultured neurons against spontaneous and excitotoxin- induced degeneration

A. Favit, F. Nicoletti, U. Scapagnini, P. L. Canonico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ubiquinone is an endogenous quinone with pharmacological actions mainly related to its antioxidant properties. Here we report that ubiquinone protects cultured cerebellar granule cells against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. In control cultures at 9 days of maturation in vitro (DIV), a 30-min exposure to 100 μM glutamate induced neuronal degeneration, as reflected by the great percentage (>90%) of cells labeled with propidium iodide 24 h after the exposure. Glutamate-induced neuronal death was dramatically reduced in cultures treated daily with ubiquinone since the second DIV. In these cultures, glutamate failed to induce a 'delayed' increase in the influx of 45Ca2+, an established parameter of excitotoxicity. Similarly, repeated addition of ubiquinone attenuated in a concentration-dependent manner the age-dependent degeneration of granule cells that is due to the toxic action of the endogenous glutamate progressively released into the medium. These results suggest that ubiquinone may be a useful drug in the therapy of acute and chronic neurodegenerative disease related to hyperactivity of excitatory amino acid neurotransmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-645
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • Cerebellar neurons
  • Glutamate
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Ubiquinone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Neuroscience(all)


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