Recent progress in studies on the health benefits of pyrroloquinoline quinone

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2016;80(1):13-22. doi: 10.1080/09168451.2015.1062715. Epub 2015 Jul 13.


Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), an aromatic tricyclic o-quinone, was identified initially as a redox cofactor for bacterial dehydrogenases. Although PQQ is not biosynthesized in mammals, trace amounts of PQQ have been found in human and rat tissues because of its wide distribution in dietary sources. Importantly, nutritional studies in rodents have revealed that PQQ deficiency exhibits diverse systemic responses, including growth impairment, immune dysfunction, and abnormal reproductive performance. Although PQQ is not currently classified as a vitamin, PQQ has been implicated as an important nutrient in mammals. In recent years, PQQ has been receiving much attention owing to its physiological importance and pharmacological effects. In this article, we review the potential health benefits of PQQ with a focus on its growth-promoting activity, anti-diabetic effect, anti-oxidative action, and neuroprotective function. Additionally, we provide an update of its basic pharmacokinetics and safety information in oral ingestion.

Keywords: anti-diabetes; anti-oxidant; neuroprotection; pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ); redox cofactor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / metabolism
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / genetics
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Memory / physiology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • PQQ Cofactor / metabolism
  • PQQ Cofactor / pharmacokinetics
  • PQQ Cofactor / pharmacology*
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 1 / genetics
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 1 / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptor, Insulin / genetics
  • Receptor, Insulin / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • PQQ Cofactor
  • Receptor, Insulin
  • PTPN1 protein, human
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 1
  • Glucose