MitoQ, a mitochondria-targeted antioxidant, delays disease progression and alleviates pathogenesis in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis mouse model of multiple sclerosis

Peizhong Mao, Maria Manczak, Ulziibat P. Shirendeb, P (Hemachandra) Reddy

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56 Scopus citations


Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are involved in the progression and pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). MitoQ is a mitochondria-targeted antioxidant that has a neuroprotective role in several mitochondrial and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Here we sought to determine the possible effects of a systematic administration of MitoQ as a therapy, using an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model. We studied the beneficial effects of MitoQ in EAE mice that mimic MS like symptoms by treating EAE mice with MitoQ and pretreated C57BL6 mice with MitoQ plus EAE induction. We found that pretreatment and treatment of EAE mice with MitoQ reduced neurological disabilities associated with EAE. We also found that both pretreatment and treatment of the EAE mice with MitoQ significantly suppressed inflammatory markers of EAE, including the inhibition of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. MitoQ treatments reduced neuronal cell loss in the spinal cord, a factor underlying motor disability in EAE mice. The neuroprotective role of MitoQ was confirmed by a neuron-glia co-culture system designed to mimic the mechanism of MS and EAE in vitro. We found that axonal inflammation and oxidative stress are associated with impaired behavioral functions in the EAE mouse model and that treatment with MitoQ can exert protective effects on neurons and reduce axonal inflammation and oxidative stress. These protective effects are likely via multiple mechanisms, including the attenuation of the robust immune response. These results suggest that MitoQ may be a new candidate for the treatment of MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2322-2331
Number of pages10
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013



  • Inflammation
  • Mitochondria-targeted antioxidant
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuron
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine

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