Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare and severe progressive disorder characterized by high pulmonary artery pressure. Chronic hypoxia causes a metabolic disorder and the Warburg effect in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1) is a key enzyme in Warburg effect increased by hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1). We constructed a cell-based luciferase assay system for HIF-1 inhibitors. Using this system, six HIF-1 inhibitors were identified. Among these inhibitors, the effect of tagitinin C (1) on PASMC was investigated. Tagitinin C (1) clearly decreased the amount of HIF-1β and the HIF-1 target PDK1. This result indicates that HIF-1 inhibitors effectively decrease PDK1 activity, which is a cause of the metabolic disorder and Warburg effect observed in PASMCs. Identifying naturally occurring HIF-1 inhibitors could provide novel insights into the development of PAH medications.
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