Pyrroloquinoline-Quinone Is More Than an Antioxidant: A Vitamin-like Accessory Factor Important in Health and Disease Prevention

Biomolecules. 2021 Sep 30;11(10):1441. doi: 10.3390/biom11101441.


Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is associated with biological processes such as mitochondriogenesis, reproduction, growth, and aging. In addition, PQQ attenuates clinically relevant dysfunctions (e.g., those associated with ischemia, inflammation and lipotoxicity). PQQ is novel among biofactors that are not currently accepted as vitamins or conditional vitamins. For example, the absence of PQQ in diets produces a response like a vitamin-related deficiency with recovery upon PQQ repletion in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, potential health benefits, such as improved metabolic flexibility and immuno-and neuroprotection, are associated with PQQ supplementation. Here, we address PQQ's role as an enzymatic cofactor or accessory factor and highlight mechanisms underlying PQQ's actions. We review both large scale and targeted datasets demonstrating that a neonatal or perinatal PQQ deficiency reduces mitochondria content and mitochondrial-related gene expression. Data are reviewed that suggest PQQ's modulation of lactate acid and perhaps other dehydrogenases enhance NAD+-dependent sirtuin activity, along with the sirtuin targets, such as PGC-1α, NRF-1, NRF-2 and TFAM; thus, mediating mitochondrial functions. Taken together, current observations suggest vitamin-like PQQ has strong potential as a potent therapeutic nutraceutical.

Keywords: PQQ; antioxidant; cell signaling; inflammation; nutrition; pyrroloquinoline quinone; vitamins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Diet
  • Disease*
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • PQQ Cofactor / pharmacology*
  • Vitamins / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamins
  • PQQ Cofactor