Tocopherol and CoQ10 Shorten Lifespan in Yeast

The lipophilic antioxidants α-tocopherol and coenzyme Q10 reduce the replicative lifespan of Saccharomyces cerevisiae:

Yuen Ting Lama, Roland Stockerb and Ian W. Dawesa, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author

a Ramaciotti Centre for Gene Function Analysis and Department of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia

b Centre for Vascular Research, School of Medical Sciences (Pathology) and The Bosch Institute, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Received 21 January 2010;
revised 30 March 2010;
accepted 10 April 2010.
Available online 18 April 2010.


Reactive oxygen species contribute to cellular ageing and an increased level of oxidative stress is often associated with ageing in many organisms. Supplementation of antioxidants has been advocated to decrease cellular oxidative stress and potentially extend lifespan. A genetically modified K6001 strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae was employed to determine the effect of several antioxidants, including D-erythroascorbic acid, α-tocopherol and coenzyme Q10 on yeast cell replicative ageing. The replicative lifespan of the K6001 strain was assessed by absorbance change as cells exhibited a linear growth in glucose medium. In this study, water-soluble D-erythroascorbic acid had little effect on cell replicative lifespan. However, supplementation of the growth medium with the lipophilic antioxidants α-tocopherol increased oxidative stress and decreased cell lifespan. The use of α-tocopherol analogues revealed that the antioxidant activity and the membrane retention ability of α-tocopherol were involved in the lifespan reduction effect. Supplementation with either coenzyme Q10 alone, or in combination with α-tocopherol also led to a reduction in yeast replicative lifespan. This study highlights a potential pro-oxidant action of antioxidants.

Antioxidants: bad for health.


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