Patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA) have decreased levels of plasma coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), regardless of whether they carry a mutation in the gene encoding for CoQ10 (COQ2), new research reveals.
While researchers know that familial cases of MSA are caused by COQ2 variants, "we don't know anything" about the sporadic form of the neurodegenerative disease, said study author Shoji Tsuji, MD, PhD, professor, neurology, University of Tokyo, Japan.
The new study provides an important clue to the mechanism of this sporadic form, he said.
Dr Shoji Tsuji
The new information also provides a rationale for a clinical trial he and his colleagues are planning for testing of CoQ10 supplementation, he said.
"We know now that the presence of CoQ10 levels are decreased in patients even without COQ2 variants. That means supplementation of CoQ10 may be effective for patients with or without COQ2 mutations, so it may be effective for all MSA patients."
The study was published online June 27 in JAMA Neurology.