Impaired wound healing and ulcer complications are a leading cause of death in diabetic patients. In this study, we report the design and synthesis of a cyclometalated iridium(III) metal complex 1a as a stabilizer of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α). In vitro biophysical and cellular analyses demonstrate that this compound binds to Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) and inhibits the VHL–HIF-1α interaction. Furthermore, the compound accumulates HIF-1α levels in cellulo and activates HIF-1α mediated gene expression, including VEGF, GLUT1, and EPO. In in vivo mouse models, the compound significantly accelerates wound closure in both normal and diabetic mice, with a greater effect being observed in the diabetic group. We also demonstrate that HIF-1α driven genes related to wound healing (i.e. HSP-90, VEGFR-1, SDF-1, SCF, and Tie-2) are increased in the wound tissue of 1a-treated diabetic mice (including, db/db, HFD/STZ and STZ models). Our study demonstrates a small molecule stabilizer of HIF-1α as a promising therapeutic agent for wound healing, and, more importantly, validates the feasibility of treating diabetic wounds by blocking the VHL and HIF-1α interaction.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)