The protective role of 5-HMF against hypoxic injury.
ABSTRACT In an attempt to find new types of anti-hypoxic agents from herbs, we identified 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furfural (5-HMF) as a natural agent that fulfills the criterion. 5-HMF, the final product of carbohydrate metabolism, has favorable biological effects such as anti-oxidant activity and inhibiting sickling of red blood cells. The role of 5-HMF in hypoxia, however, is not yet. Our pilot results showed that pretreatment with 5-HMF markedly increased both the survival time and the survival rate of mice under hypoxic stress. The present study was aimed to further investigate the protective role of 5-HMF and the underlying mechanisms in hypoxic injury using ECV304 cells as an in vitro model. ECV304 cells pretreated with or without 5-HMF for 1 h were exposed to hypoxic condition (0.3% O(2)) for 24 h and then cell apoptosis, necrosis, the changes of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and the expressions of phosphorylation- extracellular signal-regulated kinase (p-ERK) were investigated. Pretreatment with 5-HMF markedly attenuated hypoxia-induced cell necrosis and apoptosis at late stage (p < 0.01). Furthermore, pretreatment with 5-HMF rescued both the decline of the MMP and the increase of p-ERK protein under hypoxia. In a word, these results indicated that 5-HMF had protective effects against hypoxic injury in ECV304 cells, and its effects on MMP and p-ERK may be involved in the mechanism.