Primaquine Diphosphate, a Known Antimalarial Drug, Blocks Vascular Leakage Acting Through Junction Stabilization

Minyoung Noh, Haiying Zhang, Hyejeong Kim, Songyi Park, Young Myeong Kim, Young Guen Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Endothelial barrier integrity is important for vascular homeostasis, and hyperpermeability participates in the progression of many pathological states, such as diabetic retinopathy, ischemic stroke, chronic bowel disease, and inflammatory disease. Here, using drug repositioning, we discovered that primaquine diphosphate (PD), previously known as an antimalarial drug, was a potential blocker of vascular leakage. PD inhibited the linear pattern of vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF)-induced disruption at the cell boundaries, blocked the formation of VEGF-induced actin stress fibers, and stabilized the cortactin actin rings in endothelial cells. PD significantly reduced leakage in the Miles assay and mouse model of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic retinopathy. Targeted prediction programs and deubiquitinating enzyme activity assays identified a potential mechanism of action for PD and demonstrated that this operates via ubiquitin specific protease 1 (USP1). USP1 inhibition demonstrated a conserved barrier function by inhibiting VEGF-induced leakage in endothelial permeability assays. Taken together, these findings suggest that PD could be used as a novel drug for vascular leakage by maintaining endothelial integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number695009
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun 4

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (grant number 2019R1A2C3007142), and the Bio and Medical

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Noh, Zhang, Kim, Park, Kim and Kwon.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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