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Life Extension Magazine October 2012


Role of glutathione in augmenting the anticancer activity of pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ).

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), a bacterial redox co-factor and antioxidant, is highly reactive with nucleophilic compounds present in biological fluids. PQQ induced apoptosis in human promonocytic leukemia U937 cells and this was accompanied by depletion of the major cellular antioxidant glutathione and increase in intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). Treatment with glutathione (GSH) or N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) did not spare PQQ toxicity but resulted in a 2-5-fold increase in PQQ-induced apoptosis in U937 cells. Cellular GSH levels increased following treatment by NAC alone but were severely depleted by co-treatment with NAC and PQQ. This was accompanied by an increase in intracellular ROS. Alternatively, depletion of glutathione also resulted in increased PQQ cytotoxicity. However, the cells underwent necrosis as evidenced by dual labeling with annexin V and propidium iodide. PQQ-induced cytotoxicity is thus critically regulated by the cellular redox status. An increase in GSH can augment apoptosis and its depletion can switch the mode of cell death to necrosis in the presence of PQQ. Our data suggest that modulation of intracellular GSH can be used as an effective strategy to potentiate cytotoxicity of quinones like PQQ.

Redox Rep. 2010;15(4):146-54

Pyrroloquinoline quinone inhibits the fibrillation of amyloid proteins.

Several neurodegenerative diseases involve the selective damage of neuron cells resulting from the accumulation of amyloid fibril formation. Considering that the formation of amyloid fibrils as well as their precursor oligomers is cytotoxic, the agents that prevent the formation of oligomers and/or fibrils might allow the development of a novel therapeutic approach to neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we show pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) inhibits the amyloid fibril formation of the amyloid proteins, amyloid beta (1-42) and mouse prion protein. The fibril formation of mouse prion protein in the presence of PQQ was dramatically prevented. Similarly, the fibril formation of amyloid beta (1-42) also decreased. With further advanced pharmacological approaches, PQQ may become a leading anti-neurodegenerative compound in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Prion. 2010 Jan-Mar;4(1):26-31

The inhibitory effect of pyrroloquinoline quinone on the amyloid formation and cytotoxicity of truncated alpha-synuclein.

BACKGROUND: Parkinson's disease (PD) involves the selective damage of dopaminergic neuron cells resulting from the accumulation and fibril formation of alpha-synuclein. Recently, it has been shown that not only full-length alpha-synuclein, but also C-terminal truncated forms exist in the normal brain, as well as Lewy bodies, which are cytoplasmic inclusions in PD. It is known that truncated alpha-synuclein has a much higher ability to aggregate and fibrillate than full-length alpha-synuclein. Since the fibrils and precursor oligomers of alpha-synuclein are cytotoxic to the neuron, inhibitors that prevent the formation of oligomers and/or fibrils might open the way to a novel therapeutic approach to PD. However, no inhibitor for truncated alpha-synuclein has been reported yet. RESULTS: In this study, we first characterized the aggregation and cytotoxicity of C-truncated alpha-synuclein119 and alpha-synuclein133 which have been found in both the normal and the pathogenic brain. Alpha-synuclein119 aggregated more rapidly and enhanced significantly the fibril formation of alpha-synuclein. Although both of alpha-synuclein119 and alpha-synuclein133 showed a high cytotoxicity, alpha-synuclein133 showed a similar aggregation with full-length alpha-synuclein and no acceleration effect. We showed that PQQ dramatically inhibits the fibril formation of C-terminal truncated alpha-synuclein110119, and 133 as well as the mixtures of full-length alpha-synuclein with these truncated variants. Moreover, PQQ decreases the cytotoxicity of truncated alpha-synuclein. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that PQQ inhibits the amyloid fibril formation and cytotoxicity of the C-truncated alpha-synuclein variants. We believe that PQQ is a strong candidate for a reagent compound in the treatment of PD.

Mol Neurodegener. 2010 May 20;5:20

Neuroprotection by pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) in reversible middle cerebral artery occlusion in the adult rat.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a naturally occurring redox cofactor that acts as an essential nutrient, antioxidant, and redox modulator. It has previously been reported to reduce infarct size in 7-day-old rat pups with an in vivo cerebral hypoxia/ischemia model (Jensen et al., 1994). In this study, we tested whether improvement is found in both behavioral measures of protection and by histological measures of infarcted tissue at 72 h after reversible middle cerebral artery occlusion (rMCAo) in adult rats. Two-hour rMCAo was induced in adult rats using the intraluminal suture technique. PQQ (10, 3, and 1 mg/kg) was given once by intravenous injection at the initiation, or 3 h after the initiation, of 2 h rMCAo. Neurobehavioral deficits were evaluated daily for 3 days followed by infarct volumes measurements by 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining. PQQ at 10 mg/kg infused at the initiation, or 3 h after the initiation, of rMCAo was effective in reducing cerebral infarct volumes measured 72 h later. At 3 h after ischemia, a dose of 3 mg/kg significantly reduced infarct volume compared to vehicle-treated animals, but 1 mg/kg was ineffective. Neurobehavioral scores were also significantly better in the PQQ-treated group compared to the vehicle controls when PQQ was given at 10 and 3 mg/kg, but not at 1 mg/kg. Thus, PQQ is neuroprotective when given as a single administration at least 3 h after initiation of rMCAo. These data indicate that PQQ may be a useful neuroprotectant in stroke therapy.

Brain Res. 2006 Jun 13;1094(1):200-6

Altering pyrroloquinoline quinone nutritional status modulates mitochondrial, lipid, and energy metabolism in rats.

We have reported that pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) improves reproduction, neonatal development, and mitochondrial function in animals by mechanisms that involve mitochondrial related cell signaling pathways. To extend these observations, the influence of PQQ on energy and lipid relationships and apparent protection against ischemia reperfusion injury are described herein. Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a nutritionally complete diet with PQQ added at either 0 (PQQ-) or 2 mg PQQ/Kg diet (PQQ+). Measurements included: 1) serum glucose and insulin, 2) total energy expenditure per metabolic body size (Wt(3/4)), 3) respiratory quotients (in the fed and fasted states), 4) changes in plasma lipids, 5) the relative mitochondrial amount in liver and heart, and 6) indices related to cardiac ischemia. For the latter, rats (PQQ- or PQQ+) were subjected to left anterior descending occlusions followed by 2 h of reperfusion to determine PQQ's influence on infarct size and myocardial tissue levels of malondialdehyde, an indicator of lipid peroxidation. Although no striking differences in serum glucose, insulin, and free fatty acid levels were observed, energy expenditure was lower in PQQ- vs. PQQ+ rats and energy expenditure (fed state) was correlated with the hepatic mitochondrial content. Elevations in plasma di- and triacylglyceride and -hydroxybutryic acid concentrations were also observed in PQQ- rats vs. PQQ+ rats. Moreover, PQQ administration (i.p. at 4.5 mg/kg BW for 3 days) resulted in a greater than 2-fold decrease in plasma triglycerides during a 6-hour fast than saline administration in a rat model of type 2 diabetes. Cardiac injury resulting from ischemia/reperfusion was more pronounced in PQQ- rats than in PQQ+ rats. Collectively, these data demonstrate that PQQ deficiency impacts a number of parameters related to normal mitochondrial function.

PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e21779

Pyrroloquinoline quinone prevents oxidative stress-induced neuronal death probably through changes in oxidative status of DJ-1.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) has been shown to play a role as an anti-oxidant in neuronal cells and prevent neuronal cell death in a rodent stroke model. DJ-1, a causative gene product for a familial form of Parkinson's disease, plays a role in anti-oxidative stress function by self-oxidation of DJ-1. In this study, the expression level and oxidation status of DJ-1 were examined in SHSY-5Y cells and primary cultured neurons treated with 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) or H(2)O(2) in the presence or absence of PQQ. The pI shift of DJ-1 to an acidic point, which was observed in SHSY-5Y cells treated with 6-OHDA, was inhibited by PQQ. TOF-MS analyses showed that while the level of a reduced form of DJ-1, one of the active forms of DJ-1, was decreased in SHSY-5Y cells treated with 6-OHDA or H(2)O(2), PQQ increased the level of the reduced form of DJ-1. These results suggest that PQQ prevents oxidative stress-induced changes in oxidative status of DJ-1. Therefore, the neuroprotective effects of PQQ on oxidative stress-induced neuronal death may be at least in part involved in increased level of an active form of DJ-1.

Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Jul;31(7):1321-6

Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) Prevents Cognitive Deficit Caused by Oxidative Stress in Rats.

The effects of pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) and coenzyme Q(10) (Co Q(10)), either alone or together, on the learning ability and memory function of rats were investigated. Rats fed a PQQ-supplemented diet showed better learning ability than rats fed a CoQ(10)-supplemented diet at the early stage of the Morris water maze test. The combination of both compounds resulted in no significant improvement in the learning ability compared with the supplementation of PQQ alone. At the late stage of the test, rats fed PQQ-, CoQ(10)- and PQQ + CoQ(10)-supplemented diets showed similar improved learning abilities. When all the groups were subjected to hyperoxia as oxidative stress for 48 h, rats fed the PQQ- and CoQ(10) supplemented diets showed better memory function than the control rats. The concurrent diet markedly improved the memory deficit of the rats caused by oxidative stress. Although the vitamin E-deficient rats fed PQQ or CoQ(10) improved their learning function even when subjected to hyperoxia, their memory function was maintained by PQQ rather than by CoQ(10) after the stress. These results suggest that PQQ is potentially effective for preventing neurodegeneration caused by oxidative stress, and that its effect is independent of either antioxidant's interaction with vitamin E.

J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2008 Jan;42:29-34

The neuroprotective effect of pyrroloquinoline quinone on traumatic brain injury.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a water-soluble, anionic, quinonoid substance that has been established as an essential nutrient in animals. Owing to the inherent properties of PQQ as an antioxidant and redox modulator in various systems, PQQ is expected to be used in pharmacological applications in the near future. Although many recent studies have investigated its neuroprotective effects, the effect of PQQ on traumatic brain injury (TBI) has not been examined. In this study we employed Morris water maze (MWM) training, the results of which showed that PQQ led to improved behavioral performance in post-TBI animals. Considering that many experiments have suggested that β-1,4-galactosyltransferase I (β-1,4-GalT-I) and -V play significant roles in inflammation and the nervous system, in the present study we used Western blot analysis to study the effect of PQQ on the expression of β-1,4-GalT-I and -V. We found apparent expression upregulation of β-1,4-GalT-I and -V after PQQ was systemically administered. Lectin-fluorescent staining with RCA-I also revealed that PQQ contributed to expression upregulation of the galactosidase-1 (Gal -1), 4-galactosyltransferase N-acylsphingosine (4-GlcNAc) group in microglia and neurons of the cortex and hippocampal CA2 region. In summary, our experiment established that PQQ may play an important role in recovery post-TBI.

J Neurotrauma. 2012 Mar 20;29(5):851-64

Pyrroloquinoline quinone stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis through cAMP response element-binding protein phosphorylation and increased PGC-1alpha expression.

Bioactive compounds reported to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis are linked to many health benefits such increased longevity, improved energy utilization, and protection from reactive oxygen species. Previously studies have shown that mice and rats fed diets lacking in pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) have reduced mitochondrial content. Therefore, we hypothesized that PQQ can induce mitochondrial biogenesis in mouse hepatocytes. Exposure of mouse Hepa1-6 cells to 10-30 microm PQQ for 24-48 h resulted in increased citrate synthase and cytochrome c oxidase activity, Mitotracker staining, mitochondrial DNA content, and cellular oxygen respiration. The induction of this process occurred through the activation of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1alpha (PGC-1alpha), a pathway known to regulate mitochondrial biogenesis. PQQ exposure stimulated phosphorylation of CREB at serine 133, activated the promoter of PGC-1alpha, and increased PGC-1alpha mRNA and protein expression. PQQ did not stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis after small interfering RNA-mediated reduction in either PGC-1alpha or CREB expression. Consistent with activation of the PGC-1alpha pathway, PQQ increased nuclear respiratory factor activation (NRF-1 and NRF-2) and Tfam, TFB1M, and TFB2M mRNA expression. Moreover, PQQ protected cells from mitochondrial inhibition by rotenone, 3-nitropropionic acid, antimycin A, and sodium azide. The ability of PQQ to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis accounts in part for action of this compound and suggests that PQQ may be beneficial in diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunction.

J Biol Chem. 2010 Jan 1;285(1):142-52

Pyrroloquinoline quinone modulates mitochondrial quantity and function in mice.

When pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is added to an amino acid-based, but otherwise nutritionally complete basal diet, it improves growth-related variables in young mice. We examined PQQ and mitochondrial function based on observations that PQQ deficiency results in elevated plasma glucose concentrations in young mice, and PQQ addition stimulates mitochondrial complex 1 activity in vitro. PQQ-deficient weanling mice had a 20-30% reduction in the relative amount of mitochondria in liver; lower respiratory control ratios, and lower respiratory quotients than PQQ-supplemented mice (2 mg PQQ/kg diet). In mice from dams fed a conventional laboratory diet, but switched at weaning to the basal diet, plasma glucose, Ala, Gly, and Ser concentrations were elevated at 4 wk (PQQ- vs. PQQ+), but not at 8 wk. The relative mitochondrial content (ratio of mtDNA to nuclear DNA) also tended (P<0.18) to be lower (PQQ- vs. PQQ+) at 4 wk, but not at 8 wk. PQQ also counters the mitochondrial complex 1 inhibitor, diphenylene iodonium (DPI). Mice were gavaged with 0, 0.4, or 4 microg PQQ/g body weight (BW) daily for 14 d. At each PQQ level, DPI was injected (i.p.) at 0, 0.4, 0.8, or 1.6 microg DPI/g BW. The PQQ-deficient mice exposed to 0.4 or 4.0 microg DPI/g lost weight and had lower plasma glucose levels than PQQ-supplemented mice (P<0.05). In addition, fibroblasts took up (3)H-PQQ added to cell cultures, and cultured hepatocytes maintained mitochondrial PQQ concentrations similar to those observed in vivo. Collectively, these results indicate that dietary PQQ can influence mitochondrial amount and function, particularly in perinatal and weanling mice.

J Nutr. 2006 Feb;136(2):390-6