Quercetin activates an angiogenic pathway, hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1-vascular endothelial growth factor, by inhibiting HIF-prolyl hydroxylase: a structural analysis of quercetin for inhibiting HIF-prolyl hydroxylase.Mol Pharmacol. 2007 Jun; 71(6):1676-84.MP
We investigated a molecular mechanism underlying quercetin-mediated amelioration of colonic mucosal injury and analyzed chemical structure contributing to the quercetin's effect. Quercetin up-regulated vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), an ulcer healing factor, not only in colon epithelial cell lines but also in the inflamed colonic tissue. VEGF derived from quercetin-treated colon epithelial cells promoted tube formation. The VEGF induction was dependent on quercetin-mediated hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) activation. Quercetin delayed HIF-1alpha protein disappearance, which occurred by inhibiting HIF-prolyl hydroxylase (HPH), the key enzyme for HIF-1alpha hydroxylation and subsequent von Hippel Lindau-dependent HIF-1alpha degradation. HPH inhibition by quercetin was neutralized significantly by an elevated dose of iron. Consistent with this, cellular induction of HIF-1alpha by quercetin was abolished by pretreatment with iron. Two iron-chelating moieties in quercetin, -OH at position 3 of the C ring and/or -OH at positions 3' and 4' of the B ring, enabled the flavonoid to inhibit HPH and subsequently induce HIF-1alpha. Our data suggest that the clinical effect of quercetin may be partly attributed to the activation of an angiogenic pathway HIF-1-VEGF via inhibiting HPH and the chelating moieties of quercetin were required for inhibiting HPH.