Dietary pyrroloquinoline quinone: Growth and immune response in BALB/c mice

F. M. Steinberg, M. Eric Gershwin, R. B. Rucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is proposed as a nutritionally important growth factor, and we provide evidence that PQQ improves reproduction performance in BALB/c mice and stimulates neonatal growth. In the first experiment, weanling female BALB/c mice were adapted to a chemically-defined diet containing 0, 100, 200, 300, 1000, or 5000 ng PQQ/g of diet. The mice were bred and their reproductive performance and surviving offspring were assessed for 20-wk. Reproductive outcome was markedly compromised for the groups most deprived of PQQ. Supplemented groups (≥1000 ng PQQ/g diet) had 8 pups/litter compared with 4-5 pups/litter in the PQQ-deprived groups (≤300 ng PQQ/g diet). Of the pups surviving to weaning, 8 of 10 survived when PQQ was added to the diet (≥300 ng PQQ/g diet) compared with 4 of 10 in the PQQ- deficient group. The apparent requirement for PQQ for optimal growth of surviving neonates was estimated to be ≥300 ng PQQ/g of diet. Moreover, splenic cell response to the mitogens concanavalin A and lipopolysaccharide, appeared related to PQQ intake. In a second experiment, female BALB/c mice were fed diets containing PQQ added at 0 or 1000 ng/g of diet, and interleukin 1 and 2 production were assessed. In particular, levels of interleukin 2, an autocrine and paracrine growth factor, were reduced in mice fed the deficient diet at a time when T-cell proliferation occurs in neonates. Results suggest that PQQ or similar compounds may play nutritionally important roles at critical stages in development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)744-753
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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