Circulating levels of hydroxylated bradykinin function as an indicator of tissue HIF-1α expression

Yang Liu, Yajun Gu, Serina Ng, Zaian Deng, Christopher J. Lyon, Eugene J. Koay, Bo Ning, Matthew H. Katz, Paul J. Chiao, Jia Fan, Haiyong Han, Daniel Von Hoff, Tony Y. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The critical roles of oxygen homeostasis in metabolism are indisputable and hypoxic responses are correlated with the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal, pulmonary, renal diseases and cancers. Evaluating tissue hypoxia to predict treatment outcome is challenging, however, due to the lack of rapid, accurate and non-invasive methods. Hypoxia enhances prolyl-4-hydroxylase α1 (P4HA1) expression, which can convert bradykinin (BK) to hydroxyprolyl-BK (Hyp-BK), leading us to hypothesize that circulating Hyp-BK/BK ratios may reflect tissue hypoxia and predict treatment outcomes. Direct quantification of Hyp-BK peptides in serum or plasma by conventional MALDI-TOF MS analysis is technically challenging. In our study, a nanopore-based fractionation and enrichment protocol was utilized to allow the simple workflow for circulating Hyp-BK/BK analysis. Hypoxia is linked to poor prognosis due to its role in promoting pancreatic cancer progression and metastasis. Here we show that P4HA1 expression was increased in pancreatic tumors versus adjacent tissue, associated with poor survival, and corresponded with tumor expression of the hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and carbonic anhydrase 9 (CA9). Hypoxia-induced P4HA1 expression and BK conversion to Hyp-BK were found to be HIF-1α dependent, pre-treatment serum Hyp-BK/BK ratios corresponded with tissue HIF-1α and P4HA1 expression, and high Hyp-BK/BK levels corresponded with poor response to therapy. These results suggest that pre-treatment circulating Hyp-BK/BK ratios may have value as a non-invasive, surrogate indicator of tissue hypoxia and tumor responses to therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1570-1579
Number of pages10
JournalScience Bulletin
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 30 2020


  • Circulating indicator
  • HIF-1α
  • Hydroxyprolyl bradykinin
  • Hypoxia
  • P4HA1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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