Skulachev ion (SkQ1) — is an artificial mitichondrial antioxidant. This molecule includes two parts — quinone part plays the role of antioxidant and a lipophilic ion is responsible for the targeting of the whole compound to the mitochondria.

Plastoquinone is found in the plant cells. It is involved in transport of protons through the inner membrane of chloroplasts in photosynthesis. Plastoquinone molecules have an antioxidant potential. They can inhibit the oxidation of important molecules by reactive oxygen species [1], that are produced in mitochondria in large amount. It is considered that reactive axygen species and oxidation of crucial molecules in the cell may be the one of factors that activate aging processes. For that reason mitochondria targeted antioxidants can potentially slow down senescence [2]. This point is shared by researchers from the group of v. P. Skulachev, who first proposed to use plastoquinones with lipophilic ions to create the mitochondria targeted antioxidants. Currently the potential of SkQ1 and similar compounds is studied by the Russian company Mitotech.


SKQ project (Mitotech)

Date: Oct 30, 2011


  1. Iwashima M et al., Biol Pharm Bull. 2005 Feb;28(2):374-7.
  2. Skulachev VP et al., Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 May;1787(5):437-61.