Fertility Research Articles

Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation and Oocyte Aneuploidy in Women Undergoing IVF–ICSI Treatment

Bentov Y, Hannam T, Jurisicova A, Esfandiari N, Casper R.
Clinical Medical Insights: Reproductive Health 2014;8:3136.
This double blind randomized trial examined the effect of CoQ10 on oocyte aneuploidy in women undergoing IVF. 39 patients between ages 35 and 43 were given 600 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo for 2 months prior to IVF. Due to safety concerns, the study was terminated before reaching the target number of participants, therefore no significant differences in outcome were detected between the CoQ10 and placebo groups. Results showed that the rate of oocyte aneuploidy was 46.5% for the CoQ10 group and 62.8% for the placebo group, while the clinical pregnancy rates were 33% and 26.7% for CoQ10 and placebo groups, respectively. The study concluded that more research needed to study the effects of a longer duration of intake of CoQ10 on female reproductive function in women of various ages.

The aging oocyte – can mitochondrial function be improved?

Bentov Y and Casper RF.
Fertil Steril 2013;99:18‐22.
This study reviewed the role of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxygen radicals in the process of reproductive aging in women. Age-associated natural declines in coenzyme Q10 levels were suggested as a contributing factor to loss of female fertility, and possible supplementation with CoQ10 was suggested.

Treatment of CoQ(10) deficient fibroblasts with ubiquinone, CoQ analogs, and vitamin C: time‐ and compound‐dependent effects.

Lopez LC et al.
PLoS ONE 2010;5:e11897.
This in vitro study evaluated the effects of CoQ10 and its various ubiquinone analogs within the mirochondria respiratory chain, and found that ubiquionone analogs cannot replace CoQ10 in cases of CoQ10 deficiency. The authors concluded that in cases of COQ10 deficiency, CoQ10 supplementation should be the preferred method of treatment, not ubiquinone supplementation.

Premature aging in mice expressing defective mitochondrial DNA polymerase.

Trifunovic A et al.
Nature 2004;429:417‐23.
With aging, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) deletions and mutations accumulate in tissues in the body. In this experimental study, knock-in mice with PolgA, a subunit of mtDNA, developed a phenotype increase of mutations illustrating that the rise of these mutations is associated with a variety of deficiencies related to age, including reduced fertility. The result shows a direct link between mtDNA mutations and ageing phenotypes in mammals.

The maternal age effect: a hypothesis based on oxidative phosphorylation.

Wilding M et al.
Zygote 2005;13:317‐23.
This study presented a hypothesis that free radicals negatively affect the efficiency of oxidative phosphorylation in the oocytes of older women, in the primordial stage. The authors suggested that oocyte quality depends on the level of oxidative phosphorylation.

The antioxidant role of coenzyme Q.

Bentinger M et al.
Mitochondrion 2007;7(Suppl):S41‐50.
This study investigated the function of coenzyme Q (CoQ) as an antioxidant that protects cellular membrane. The only lipid-soluble antioxidant synthesized in the body, CoQ is the most abundant antioxidant in the body and protects lipids, proteins and DNA. The study suggested that re-establishing normal levels of CoQ in cases of deficiency due to genetic mutation or aging is of therapeutic interest.

Mitochondrial DNA in the oocyte and the developing embryo.

May‐Panloup P et al.
Curr Top Dev Biol 2007;77:51‐83.
This review examined recent studies on the important roles mitochondria play in the reproductive process. Driving cellular energetic metabolism, mitochondria greatly influence the quality of human eggs and assist in the process of egg fertilization and early embryo development.

The effects of oxidative stress on female reproduction: a review

Agarwal A et al.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2012 Jun 29;10:49.
This extensive review focused on the effects of oxidative stress (OS) on various aspects of infertility, including PCOS, endometriosis and unexplained infertility. The study found conflicting animal and in vitro reports on the potential use of antioxidants for infertility associated with OS. The study concluded that despite evidence that OS compromises sperm, egg and embryo quality in assisted reproductive technologies settings, further studies are needed to validate possible benefits of antioxidant supplementation to treat infertility.

The contribution of mitochondrial function to reproductive aging.

Bentov et al.
Genet 2011;28:773‐83.
Against a backdrop of increasing number of women ages 36-44 trying to conceive, this study reviewed available data on the possible role that mitochondria plays in reproductive aging. The review concluded that while the factors responsible for low-quality oocytes still need to be elucidated, mitochondrial dysfunction appears to play a role in reproductive aging.

Coenzyme Q10 in submicron‐sized dispersion improves development, hatching, cell proliferation and adenosine triphosphate content of in vitro‐produced bovine embryos.

Stojkovic M et al.
Biol Reprod 1999;61:541‐7.
In this study, CoQ10 was tested as a supplement for IVF culture of bovine embryos to show whether or not the CoQ10 supported the embryo in the culture system. Embryos showed high cleavage rate and the significantly more blastocysts hatched with the administration of CoQ10, proving that CoQ10 does support embryo development of bovines.

Coenzyme Q10 content in follicular fluid and its relationship with oocyte fertilization and embryo grading.

Turi A et al.
Arch Gynecol Obstet 2012;285:1173‐6.
The study was the first to investigate the presence and functions of CoQ10 in human follicular fluid. CoQ10 levels were significantly higher in mature oocytes than dysmorphic oocytes, and significantly higher in better-quality embryos than lower-quality embryos. The study proposed administration of CoQ10 for women with infertility to evaluate its reproductive functions.

The use of mitochondrial nutrients to improve the outcome of infertility treatment in older patients.

Bentov Y et al.
Fertil Steril 2010;93:272‐5.
The study proposed the hypothesis that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a significant role in reproductive senescence, and suggested supplementation with mitochondrial nutrients, including CoQ10, to treat older patients with infertility.

Why do older women have poor implantation rates? A possible role of the mitochondria.

Bartmann AK et al.
J Assist Reprod Genet 2004;21:79‐83.
Mitochondria provide energy for spindle formation during meiosis II, facilitating fecundation. Because it is passed on maternally, integrity of oocyte mitochondria is crucial for embryonic development. This opinion piece proposed a model to explain the poor implantation rates of older women by age-related DNA mutations in mitochondria.

Reproductive aging is associated with decreased mitochondrial abundance and altered structure in murine oocytes.

Kushnir VA et al.
Fertil Steril 2005;84(3):756.
This study was conducted to test the hypothesis that dysfunction in oocytes due to a decrease in mitochondrial abundance is linked to reproductive aging. The study measured conception and litter size in young and aged mice. Older mice took significantly longer to conceive than younger mice, and had fewer surviving pups. The oocytes of older mice had 2.7-fold less mtDNA compared to the younger mice, proving the association of reproductive aging and the decrease in the amount of mitochondria in oocytes.